Spring 2012 Deans' Seminar Series: William M. Shepherd, CAPT USN ret. "Technical Cultures of the Space Program"
Monday, May 21, 2012 – ( 11:30 am to 12:30 pm )
Location: Babbio Center 122 and Online via Wimba
ABSTRACT | Captain Shepherd will share his insight as a program manager, systems engineer, Navy SEAL, and astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS) on the technical challenges faced by the people and cultures charged to bring international space programs to reality.
BIOGRAPHY | Capt Bill “Shep" Shepherd graduated from the US Naval Academy and was commissioned in the US Navy in 1971. He completed Basic Underwater Demolition Team/SEAL training in 1972 and was subsequently assigned to SEAL Team ONE. He attended the Navy’s Naval Construction and Engineering program at MIT, graduating in 1978 with the degrees of Ocean Engineer and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He returned to the Special Warfare community as a platoon commander and operations officer at SEAL Team TWO and later to Special Boat Unit TWENTY. Between 1981 and 1983 he was assigned to a Navy field unit where he worked on rapid development projects.
In 1984, he was selected as one of 17 NASA candidates in Astronaut Group 10, where he first helped direct the underwater search and salvage of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986. He flew 3 Shuttle missions as a Mission Specialist Astronaut and flight engineer—STS 27 in 1988, carrying a DOD payload, STS 41 launching the solar probe “Ulysses” in 1990, and STS 52 in 1992, which carried the LAGEOS research satellite to orbit.
In 1993, Capt Shepherd was assigned as the Program Manager for the International Space Station, a 16-nation partnership, where he led a 12,000 person government/industry team in the technical, management, and operational details of the new program. He helped establish NASA’s unprecedented relationship with Russian government and aerospace leaders, and integrate their equipment, techniques, and procedures into this international effort.
He commanded the first flight crew to ISS with Russian Cosmonauts, launching to orbit in Oct 2000 for a 141-day mission and began permanent human operations aboard ISS. “Expedition One” activated the Russian and American modules, supervised 3 Space Shuttle and 2 “Progress” vehicle dockings, and carried out assembly, checkout and initial operations of 3 new station modules.
Capt Shepherd retired from active duty in 2002. Throughout his 30-year Navy career, he deployed to Korea, the Philippines, Alaska, El Salvador, Honduras, Grenada, Beirut, and outer space. Most recently, Capt Shepherd served at USSOCOM from 2008 to 2011 as Science Advisor, where he managed the Special Operations science and technology portfolio. Capt. Shepherd’s awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the National Intelligence Medal, NASA’s “Steve Thorne” airmanship award, the Komarov Diploma, the Gagarin Gold Medal, the Robert H. Goddard Trophy, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and the Collier Trophy (as part of NASA’s ISS team).