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Charles Camarda

Charles Camarda

Keynote Speaker: Retired NASA Astronaut, Author, Inventor & CEO of the Epic Education Foundation

Charles Camarda Biography

Dr. Charles Camarda retired from NASA in May 2019, after 46 years of continuous service as a research engineer and technical manager at Langley Research Center (LaRC), an Astronaut and Senior Executive (Director of Engineering) at Johnson Space Center (JSC), and as the Senior Advisor for Innovation and Engineering Development at NASA LaRC. He was selected as an Astronaut Candidate in 1996 and flew as a Mission Specialist on STS-114, NASA’s Return-to-Flight (RTF) mission immediately following the Columbia disaster. He invented the on-orbit, wing leading edge repair capability which he flew and tested on his mission.

Dr. Camarda is an inventor, author, professor, and internationally recognized invited speaker on subjects related to engineering, engineering design, innovation, safety, organizational behavior, and education. Dr. Camarda is the Founder/CEO of the Epic Education Foundation and he is the President of an aerospace engineering and education consultancy, Leading Edge Enterprises LLC.

Contact a speaker booking agent to check availability on Charles Camarda and other top speakers and celebrities.

Charles Camarda Speaking Topics

How to Prevent & Fix a Toxic Organizational Culture

High-Performing Teams – How to Create, Nurture, and Lead Teams in a Complex World

NASA is a premier organization that can solve almost any technical challenge that it faces. Or at least that’s the general public consensus. However, NASA today is very different from the agency that, 50 years ago, successfully landed humans on the Moon and returned them safely home. More recently, NASA teams have had major problems leading to the Challenger and Columbia disasters. Work in complex companies is done in teams. Everything that happens, success and failure, is the result of how these teams function, how they conduct work, and how the individual members support one another. The extraordinarily successful culture of NASA of yesteryear today struggles to fix the root causes of problems related to underperforming, even dysfunctional, teams. As a result, new organizations, such as SpaceX, have rapidly taken over public interest and attention as the bearers of the future of America’s, and possibly the world’s space ambitions. The challenges confronting NASA are not primarily technological or related to its engineering capability. Rather, the difficulties exist in the culture and mindsets now pervading the organization.

Dr. Camarda is a 46-year NASA veteran who served as a research engineer, technical leader, Astronaut, Director of Engineering, and Senior Advisor for Innovation and Engineering Development. He has led multiple large NASA/DoD/Industry/Academia R&D teams throughout the U.S. to solve some of the most difficult engineering challenges as well as small agile teams to mature rapid innovative/breakthrough solutions. He will highlight a disturbing trend of NASA toward reduced emphasis on use-oriented, applied research over the past 25-30 years which has eroded the technical capability to not only predict key failure mechanism and root cause behaviors of anomalies which can lead to critical failures, but once realized, the inability to rapidly solve such problems and prevent future failures. He will also highlight ideas for using a system-of-systems approach, rapid concept development, and a “Team-of-Teams” approach to build a resilient, adaptive network of key subject-matter-experts to rapidly assess team performance and to mitigate potential failures before they become critical.

NASA’s Return-to-Flight Following Columbia – The Role of Research and Innovative Engineering Design)

Contributions provided by the three NASA Researchers Centers were pivotal in understanding the proximate technical cause of the Columbia accident, mitigating the cause of the problem, and developing the necessary technologies to ensure a continued safe and expeditious return to flight. We enhanced our knowledge and understanding by reaching out to the research communities to utilize the latest advances in analysis, testing, inspection, monitoring and fabrication. We were able to make significant advances in understanding the complex aerodynamic and aerothermodynamic environments; debris transport; impact dynamics and failure of thermal protection system (TPS) (tile and reinforced carbon-carbon (RCC)); ablation of damaged RCC; etc. In addition, we developed innovative technologies for non-destructive evaluation (NDE), damage monitoring, and TPS repair. Throughout this process we gained a tremendous amount of insight into how to develop innovative concepts and utilize innovative solution strategies in a timely and cost-effective manner which satisfied the stringent demands of a very public, high-profile program!

Dr. Charles Camarda will present his personal account of this process as a research engineer involved with the Columbia Accident Investigation, an innovator of several of the technical concepts utilized for repair, and as an Astronaut who demonstrated and flew several of these technologies in space on STS-114, the return-to-flight mission of the Space Shuttle.

Houston….YOU Have a Problem | Psychological Safety, Leadership & Critical Thinking

Does NASA still have what it takes to send humans back to the Moon and eventually Mars and risk another space race, this time with China? Astronaut and 46-Year NASA veteran researcher, Dr. Camarda, describes how the gradual cultural decay and slide from technical excellence could result in a reverse “Apollo Effect” which could threaten our technical dominance and challenge our position as world leader. The same systemic problems which caused the Challenger and Columbia accidents persist today and can be witnessed in other large corporations around the world. Houston…You Have a Problem is an insider’s story of an Agency which suffered the loss of a crew and how it wrestled with its own dysfunctional culture as told by Dr. Charles Camarda, an experienced research engineer and thermal structures expert, who flew as a Mission Specialist on STS-114, NASA’s Return-to-Flight mission following the Columbia accident! The story heralds the triumph of the indomitable human spirit and creative genius of some of NASA’s best and brightest minds to overcome a psychologically unsafe environment, bureaucratic inertia, cultural decay and technical subordination of a once great organization and develop the technology and procedures to ensure the space program’s successful return to flight. It lays out a prescriptive plan which NASA and other struggling corporations can follow to identify “weak signals” of technical and behavioral dysfunction and put in place measures to heal and transform organizations so they can regain the core ideologies which made them great.

Transforming Education – Killing Three Birds

"We are approaching a point in time where the rapid acceleration of technology related to education, course development and learning has produced large amounts of content and knowledge concepts within fingertip reach of learners of all ages providing they have access to the Internet and a computer or mobile device. Learning to learn and acquiring the skills necessary to search and, more importantly, curate the numerous sources to select just the right information and/or to interact with just the right subject-matter-expert (SME) at just the right time is critical. What if we could ignite, excite, and align learners’ passion for solving problems with a customized roadmap which guides and facilitates the process for acquiring the knowledge and mastering the necessary skills in a collaborative environment using a problem-based learning methodology?

Dr. Charles Camarda is a NASA Astronaut and Senior Executive who has formulated and proposed the Innovative Conceptual Engineering Design (ICED) methodology as a means for both increasing innovation within NASA and encouraging STEM education in the United States. This methodology involves bringing real-world, open-ended, “epic” engineering challenges to a diverse mix of university, high school, and even middle school students. Under the guidance of relevant subject matter experts from academia, industry, and the government, these students initially work together in person in a highly collaborative, concurrent engineering environment where creative ideas are rapidly conceptualized, prototyped, tested, and iterated upon. Following an initial workshop, a virtual platform is used to maintain links between the technical experts and the student teams, as they continue to mature their problem solutions. The ICED program was developed by Dr. Camarda over several years while participating in a wide range of NASA and Air Force research and development programs. Over the past four years, this program has been successfully field-tested over a wide variety of participant experience levels ranging from high school to young practicing engineers. One such collaborative effort involving students from MIT and Penn State resulted in a potentially feasible solution to a contingency land landing system for NASA’s next-generation space vehicle, the Orion capsule!

Charles Camarda Videos

Charles Camarda on becoming an astronaut
Professor George Siemens interviews Dr Charles Camarda
Dr. Charles Camarda SEAS 2013 R&D Showcase

How do I book Charles Camarda to speak at my event?

Our experienced booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure speakers like Charles Camarda for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment since 2002. Click the Check Schedule button above and complete the form on this page to check availability for Charles Camarda, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get speaking fee information and check availability for Charles Camarda or any other speaker of your choice.

How much does it cost to book Charles Camarda for a speaking engagement?

Speaking fees for Charles Camarda, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. The estimated fees to book Charles Camarda are $10,000 - $20,000 for live events and Below $10,000 for virtual events. For the most current speaking fee to hire Charles Camarda, click the Check Schedule button above and complete the form on this page, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak directly with an experienced booking agent.

What topics does Charles Camarda speak about?

Charles Camarda is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics such as International Business, Space, Teamwork & Teambuilding, Science, Strategic Leadership, Technology, Leadership, Engineering, Inventors and Education.

Where does Charles Camarda travel from?

Charles Camarda generally travels from Norfolk, VA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances.

Who is the agent for Charles Camarda?

AAE Speakers Bureau has successfully secured keynote speakers like Charles Camarda for clients worldwide since 2002. As a full-service speaker booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Please click the Check Schedule button above and complete the form on this page including the details of your event, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Charles Camarda for your next private or corporate function.

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Charles Camarda is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics including International Business, Space and Teamwork & Teambuilding. The estimated speaking fee range to book Charles Camarda for live events is $10,000 - $20,000, and for virtual events Below $10,000. Charles Camarda generally travels from Norfolk, VA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are John Herrington, Daniel Tani and Guion Bluford. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Charles Camarda for an upcoming event.

Charles Camarda Speaking Topics

  • How to Prevent & Fix a Toxic Organizational Culture

  • High-Performing Teams – How to Create, Nurture, and Lead Teams in a Complex World

    NASA is a premier organization that can solve almost any technical challenge that it faces. Or at least that’s the general public consensus. However, NASA today is very different from the agency that, 50 years ago, successfully landed humans on the Moon and returned them safely home. More recently, NASA teams have had major problems leading to the Challenger and Columbia disasters. Work in complex companies is done in teams. Everything that happens, success and failure, is the result of how these teams function, how they conduct work, and how the individual members support one another. The extraordinarily successful culture of NASA of yesteryear today struggles to fix the root causes of problems related to underperforming, even dysfunctional, teams. As a result, new organizations, such as SpaceX, have rapidly taken over public interest and attention as the bearers of the future of America’s, and possibly the world’s space ambitions. The challenges confronting NASA are not primarily technological or related to its engineering capability. Rather, the difficulties exist in the culture and mindsets now pervading the organization.

    Dr. Camarda is a 46-year NASA veteran who served as a research engineer, technical leader, Astronaut, Director of Engineering, and Senior Advisor for Innovation and Engineering Development. He has led multiple large NASA/DoD/Industry/Academia R&D teams throughout the U.S. to solve some of the most difficult engineering challenges as well as small agile teams to mature rapid innovative/breakthrough solutions. He will highlight a disturbing trend of NASA toward reduced emphasis on use-oriented, applied research over the past 25-30 years which has eroded the technical capability to not only predict key failure mechanism and root cause behaviors of anomalies which can lead to critical failures, but once realized, the inability to rapidly solve such problems and prevent future failures. He will also highlight ideas for using a system-of-systems approach, rapid concept development, and a “Team-of-Teams” approach to build a resilient, adaptive network of key subject-matter-experts to rapidly assess team performance and to mitigate potential failures before they become critical.

  • NASA’s Return-to-Flight Following Columbia – The Role of Research and Innovative Engineering Design)

    Contributions provided by the three NASA Researchers Centers were pivotal in understanding the proximate technical cause of the Columbia accident, mitigating the cause of the problem, and developing the necessary technologies to ensure a continued safe and expeditious return to flight. We enhanced our knowledge and understanding by reaching out to the research communities to utilize the latest advances in analysis, testing, inspection, monitoring and fabrication. We were able to make significant advances in understanding the complex aerodynamic and aerothermodynamic environments; debris transport; impact dynamics and failure of thermal protection system (TPS) (tile and reinforced carbon-carbon (RCC)); ablation of damaged RCC; etc. In addition, we developed innovative technologies for non-destructive evaluation (NDE), damage monitoring, and TPS repair. Throughout this process we gained a tremendous amount of insight into how to develop innovative concepts and utilize innovative solution strategies in a timely and cost-effective manner which satisfied the stringent demands of a very public, high-profile program!

    Dr. Charles Camarda will present his personal account of this process as a research engineer involved with the Columbia Accident Investigation, an innovator of several of the technical concepts utilized for repair, and as an Astronaut who demonstrated and flew several of these technologies in space on STS-114, the return-to-flight mission of the Space Shuttle.

  • Houston….YOU Have a Problem | Psychological Safety, Leadership & Critical Thinking

    Does NASA still have what it takes to send humans back to the Moon and eventually Mars and risk another space race, this time with China? Astronaut and 46-Year NASA veteran researcher, Dr. Camarda, describes how the gradual cultural decay and slide from technical excellence could result in a reverse “Apollo Effect” which could threaten our technical dominance and challenge our position as world leader. The same systemic problems which caused the Challenger and Columbia accidents persist today and can be witnessed in other large corporations around the world. Houston…You Have a Problem is an insider’s story of an Agency which suffered the loss of a crew and how it wrestled with its own dysfunctional culture as told by Dr. Charles Camarda, an experienced research engineer and thermal structures expert, who flew as a Mission Specialist on STS-114, NASA’s Return-to-Flight mission following the Columbia accident! The story heralds the triumph of the indomitable human spirit and creative genius of some of NASA’s best and brightest minds to overcome a psychologically unsafe environment, bureaucratic inertia, cultural decay and technical subordination of a once great organization and develop the technology and procedures to ensure the space program’s successful return to flight. It lays out a prescriptive plan which NASA and other struggling corporations can follow to identify “weak signals” of technical and behavioral dysfunction and put in place measures to heal and transform organizations so they can regain the core ideologies which made them great.

  • Transforming Education – Killing Three Birds

    "We are approaching a point in time where the rapid acceleration of technology related to education, course development and learning has produced large amounts of content and knowledge concepts within fingertip reach of learners of all ages providing they have access to the Internet and a computer or mobile device. Learning to learn and acquiring the skills necessary to search and, more importantly, curate the numerous sources to select just the right information and/or to interact with just the right subject-matter-expert (SME) at just the right time is critical. What if we could ignite, excite, and align learners’ passion for solving problems with a customized roadmap which guides and facilitates the process for acquiring the knowledge and mastering the necessary skills in a collaborative environment using a problem-based learning methodology?

    Dr. Charles Camarda is a NASA Astronaut and Senior Executive who has formulated and proposed the Innovative Conceptual Engineering Design (ICED) methodology as a means for both increasing innovation within NASA and encouraging STEM education in the United States. This methodology involves bringing real-world, open-ended, “epic” engineering challenges to a diverse mix of university, high school, and even middle school students. Under the guidance of relevant subject matter experts from academia, industry, and the government, these students initially work together in person in a highly collaborative, concurrent engineering environment where creative ideas are rapidly conceptualized, prototyped, tested, and iterated upon. Following an initial workshop, a virtual platform is used to maintain links between the technical experts and the student teams, as they continue to mature their problem solutions. The ICED program was developed by Dr. Camarda over several years while participating in a wide range of NASA and Air Force research and development programs. Over the past four years, this program has been successfully field-tested over a wide variety of participant experience levels ranging from high school to young practicing engineers. One such collaborative effort involving students from MIT and Penn State resulted in a potentially feasible solution to a contingency land landing system for NASA’s next-generation space vehicle, the Orion capsule!

Charles Camarda Videos

Charles Camarda on becoming an astronaut
Professor George Siemens interviews Dr Charles Camarda
Dr. Charles Camarda SEAS 2013 R&D Showcase

Charles Camarda News

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