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David Wolf  

Astronaut, Medical Doctor, Engineer, Scientist, Inventor & Aerobatic Pilot

David Alexander Wolf is an astronaut, medical doctor, electrical engineer. Considered the “father” of the Space Bioreactor, he led the team developing this tissue engineering methodology now used for state of the art cancer research and regenerative medicine on Earth as well as demonstrating the further advantages when conducted in microgravity.

He is also a Russian Cosmonaut conducting all training and a long duration (128 day) mission on the Russian MIR Space Station in the Russian language. Wolf has been to space four times. Three of his spaceflights were Space Shuttle missions, the first of which was STS-58 in 1993, a Spacelab mission to research the effects of low gravity on the human body. His most recent spaceflight was STS-127 in 2009 in which he led the Spacewalk team in 5 EVA’s (matching the record) for ISS assembly. Wolf also took part in a long-duration mission aboard the Russian MIR Space Station lasting 128 days (NASA-MIR 6, Mir EO-24).

Along with a broad scientific program, they overcame several serious emergencies including total power failure, loss of attitude control, main computer failure, and a life threatening airlock failure nearly prohibiting re-entry into the spacecraft. He was brought to Mir aboard STS-86 in September 1997, and landed aboard STS-89 in January 1998. In total Wolf has logged more than 4,040 hours in space. He is a veteran of 7 spacewalks totaling 41hrs 17min in both Russian and American spacesuits and was chief of the Astronaut Office EVA Branch during the main construction of the ISS. He is a specialist in space medicine, EVA, rendezvous navigation, re-entry, and space sciences. He has led ground teams developing systems now operating on orbit.

Wolf has received numerous awards and honors. He is a recipient of the NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal in 1990 and NASA Inventor of the Year in 1992. Wolf received an Academic Achievement Award upon graduation from medical school. He received the Carl R. Ruddell scholarship award for pioneering research in medical ultrasonic digital signal and image processing. He is a member of Eta Kappa Nu and Phi Eta Sigma honorary societies. Wolf has received 17 U.S. Patents and over 20 Space Act Awards primarily for 3-dimensional tissue engineering technologies, earning the Texas State Bar Patent of the Year in 1994. He has published over 40 technical papers.

Wolf has been a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Aerospace Medical Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the International Aerobatic Club, and the Air National Guard (retired).

Wolf is currently a consultant in Biotechnology, Aerospace, Medical Delivery, and Bio-instrumentation.

Speech Topics

  • Every team member is critical – there are no small jobs
  • Leadership and Followership are both learned qualities that apply at every level
  • Effective motivated teams adapt the roles of individuals as situations evolve
  • Excellence derives from both successes and failures in a healthy culture
  • Sustaining excellence is an active process of organizational culture
  • Innovation occurs at inconvenient times, from unexpected sources, and are often not the originally intended goal – they are often better
  • Empowering the individual and the team is tricky business, but essential
  • Successful teams have the judgement to recognize innovation and advance these from the creative environment to mature critical operations
  • Nothing fails like success – we must avoid the black hole of complacency
  • These themes are relevant from the corporate boardroom to our youngest leaders of our future
  • One is never too young, or too experienced, to employ leadership/followership principles – it meshes the power of the individual with the team
  • This all works in our personal as well as professional lives

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