Press Release

NASA Marshall Center’s John Chapman Receives Presidential Rank Award

By SpaceRef Editor
October 27, 2008
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – John Chapman has been recognized by President Bush for his outstanding achievements at NASA with a Presidential Rank Award – one of the highest honors given to career federal employees. He is manager of the Space Shuttle External Tank Project Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

The Presidential Rank Award is given annually to a select group of senior federal executives for outstanding leadership and service in some of the most critical positions in federal government. Executives who have consistently demonstrated strength, integrity and commitment to public service in their careers are nominated for the award by members of their agency. Review boards of private citizens refer a select few to the president for approval.

“I am truly honored to receive this prestigious award and consider it a great privilege to work with this outstanding space shuttle team and contribute to our nation’s strength and future,” said Chapman.

He has served in his current position since November 2005, overseeing one of NASA’s highest profile projects. Chapman manages an annual budget of more than $300 million and a workforce of more than 2,000 government and contractor technical and engineering experts. He is responsible for the requirements definition, design, development, manufacturing, assembly, testing and flight performance of the space shuttle external tank. From 2004 to 2005, he was chief engineer for shuttle propulsion projects in the Marshall Center’s Engineering Directorate. He was technical assistant to the manager of Marshall’s Space Transportation Directorate from 2001 to 2004. During this time, he completed a year-long rotational assignment at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

Chapman has been involved with the shuttle program almost since its inception, beginning in the early 1970s when he worked in private industry. He joined NASA in 1980 as an engineer in the Solid Rocket Booster Project Office at Marshall. He has held nearly every post in the Shuttle Propulsion Office, including deputy project manager and business manager of each propulsion element. He also served as solid rocker booster chief engineer.

Chapman earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta in 1973. He has received numerous honors and awards during his NASA career, most recently the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in June 2008. He has participated in various executive-level training courses, and is the co-author of several technical publications.

A native of Spartanburg, S.C. and a 1969 graduate of Spartanburg High School, Chapman and his wife, the former Cynthia Hughes of Huntsville, live in Madison, Ala., with their two sons.

For supporting materials for this news release — such as photographs, fact sheets, video and audio files and more — please visit the NASA Marshall Center Newsroom Web site at:

SpaceRef staff editor.