Dr. Paul Munafo
Engineer and Assistant Director for Safety at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
Dr. Paul Munafo named assistant director for
safety and engineering at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
NASA's Dr. Paul Munafo has been named to the newly created position of assistant director for safety and engineering at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
Munafo will consolidate engineering analyses by implementing an independent, internal organization oversight of the Marshall Center's engineering systems and operations. In this role, he will be the Marshall focal point for NASA's independent technical authority.
Munafo most recently was temporarily assigned as deputy director of the Engineering and Safety Center at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
The Engineering and Safety Center provides an independent and comprehensive examination of all NASA programs and projects.
During the Columbia accident investigation, Munafo led NASA's External Tank Contingency Team — formed Feb.1, 2003, the day of Columbia's loss — to investigate what role the External Tank may have played in the accident. He is credited with providing valuable information to the investigation board.
Munafo's work on the External Tank Contingency Team — along with his efforts to identify and resolve a problem that threatened to ground the Space Shuttle for three months in 2002 — earned him recognition from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He was named 2004 Engineer of the Year by the Institute.
A Marshall employee since 1975, Munafo is a three-time recipient of the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal and has been recognized with NASA's Outstanding Leadership Medal, as well as numerous other NASA awards and commendations.
A native of Boston, he graduated from Boston Technical High School in 1957. After earning a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., in 1962, Munafo received a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Tulane University in New Orleans in 1971. In 1996, he earned a doctorate degree in materials science from Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.
Munafo and his wife, Virginia, reside in Huntsville. They have three children and four grandchildren. He is the son of Matthew Munafo of Quincy, Mass.