About Wayne

Wayne Hale is retired from NASA after 32 years. In his career he was the Space Shuttle Program Manager or Deputy for 5 years, a Space Shuttle Flight Director for 40 missions, and is currently a consultant for SAS and full time grandpa.

To book Wayne as a speaker at your event, please go to the Special Aerospace Services web page.

44 Responses to About Wayne

  1. Jennifer Comella says:

    Glad you’re back to posting!

  2. Andrew Rice says:

    Hi Wayne…like the blog. Marissa told me to check it out!

  3. Mr. Hale,
    I love the blog…please keep updating it…we’re out there looking for good space info and opinion.

  4. James Knapper says:

    I love reading your blog. frankly, I have missed your press conferences before shuttle flights. Looking forward to the Shuttle Book you worked on (is it really coming out in February, or will you wait for the final mission?)

  5. Ray Katz says:

    Hi, Wayne.

    Thanks for doing this blog. I’ve added you to my blogroll at The Space Buff. (http://www.thespacebuff.com/links/)

  6. Linda Lovison says:

    Thanks for your input (or should it be output?) concerning the safety of spaceflights. It is such an important topic of study. Our collective national heart has certainly been broken from the spaceflight accidents of the past. It is such a concern – I hope and pray there will be never be another disaster.

  7. Love your blog and can’t wait for your book to be released! Love the picture with Hale Kid #1

  8. Suresh says:

    Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us. It is fantastic learning and reading about your experiences in the shuttle program.

  9. Fred Mushel says:

    Mr Hale,

    I am eagerly awaiting to be able to purchase your new book; “Wings in Orbit..”

    What is holding up its availability?

    • waynehale says:

      Thank you for your interest. Wings in Orbit is a Government Printing Office publication. While I and several hundred other NASA employees and retirees wrote most of the book, the printing and distribution was done by the GPO. Unfortunately, I have very little insight into what is holding up distribution of those books. I hope that the wheels will be rolling shortly and those that pre-ordered the book will get theirs delivered, and that you will find copies at not only GPO bookstores, but also at Barnes & Nobels bookstores and Amazon.com which have signed agreements to merchandise those books. Please note that neither I nor any of the other authors or editors get any reimbursement for this book, all sales profits go to the US Treasury.

      • Brian says:

        Reading through Wings in Orbit – thank you (and your team!) for accepting the challenges and completing the work – when I start to get a little saddened looking around these days, reading, and recalling, the things that have been and can be done helps lift a bit!

  10. Jonathan Waggoner says:

    Mr Hale,

    With the recent failure of the Soyuz rocket and the possibility of a soon abandoned ISS, thoughts from 1979 spring to my mind. I was at the time a humble 3rd grader, at that age I watched a lot of cartoons on Saturday morning, like most kids, CBS had this science program and maybe it was Charles Kuralt or Marvin Kalb that hosted it, but they had kids write in on how to save Skylab from falling out of the sky. That memory made me remember that just such a piece of hardware had been built and I’m sure is now sitting in some warehouse in a crate at JSC or Marshall. Apparently the Shuttle on one of the first 3 or four flights then planned was to attach this to Skylab and boost it into a higher orbit, thus saving it for future visits and so on.

    Is the Shuttle Endeavour capable, if necessary, (as it seems on hold from full retirement for some USA space alliance contingency right now according to spaceflight.com) able to transport a Soyuz vehicle to the ISS and thereby save us from a 100 billion dollar 12 year flaming ISS as it reenters the Earth’s atmosphere. I realize this is a worst case as the ISS can be controlled from the ground, but there’s always the worst case scenario when these things happen. —

    Wondering if deja vu will happen all over again to coin a phrase — Jonathan

  11. Michel Burelle says:

    Mr Hale

    I am an avid space enthusiast from Montreal, Canada.

    In 2009 I decided to put together a power point presentation for the 40th anniversary of every Apollo moon mission. I present the conferences at my local astronomy club and at the only museum dedicated to space exploration and Astronomy in Canada (the Cosmodôme in Laval, Quebec).

    I just want to say that I absolutely love your Blog. Your opinion as an insider is very precious to me in understanding the current developments in the transition period we are witnessing these days.

    Thanks and keep up the good work

    Michel Burelle
    Montreal, Canada

  12. Captain Obvious says:

    Hi Wayne,

    I very much enjoyed your presentation at the Special Aerospace Services conference on manned spacelight in Boulder, CO. It was very interesting and described China’s expansion and contraction during the Ming Dynasty. I was disappointed that it was not included on the USB memory stick we received from the conference. Would you mind sending the presentation to me for review? It was really informative.



  13. Green Patricia says:

    Hey Wayne,

    Its Patricia Green. Understand awhile ago you saw Kelley and asked about me. Thanks for remembering. My husband and I are retired now and love every minute. No more getting up at 4 a.m. every morning or working launch, sometimes for 24 hours. Am very proud to have worked with you from your first day at KSC until you moved on. Will enjoy reading your blog.

  14. Dave Dooling says:


    This is an excellent lesson. I will find a way to work this into our curriculum at New Mexico Space Academy this summer.

    Dave Dooling
    Education Director (& ex-Huntsville Times science editor)
    NM Museum of Space History
    Alamogordo, NM

  15. yatpay says:

    Hi Wayne,

    I’m watching your MIT “Aircraft Systems Engineering” lecture on Mission Control from 2005. At the beginning of the lecture you handed out two papers you had written to the class. Is there any chance there is a digital version available for me to read?


    By the way, I loved Wings in Orbit!

    • waynehale says:

      Help me with the titles of the papers – that’s been a few years ago . .

      • yatpay says:

        Oh, haha, of course. Sorry about that.

        It looks like you never actually said the paper titles in the lecture, so I may be out of luck, but here’s what you said about them:

        “Also because I had a whole bunch of copies of my last two papers sitting around that I needed to get rid of, I lugged them up here.

        I want to give you copies of my last two papers which have to do with operational issues that you can read at your leisure.

        And I particularly want you to look at the considerations in rendezvous launch windows.”

        If it’s too much trouble, don’t sweat it. Great lecture!

      • yatpay says:

        Oops, my quote got cut off. You also mentioned this about the papers

        “One discussing entry operational considerations and hypersonic entry that we’ve learned with the Space Shuttle.

        The other about rendezvous launch windows.”

  16. Marc says:

    Thanks for writing these. I find them fascinating from any perspective, but sobering and essential for those of us still working in human spaceflight. Though I lived through the Columbia timeframe, have read the CAIB report, and spent many hours of my professional life getting us ready to return to flight, I’ve had one question that has never really been answered to my satisfaction, and perhaps you could address this: clearly we failed in understanding the danger the foam presented and heading off the accident. But it seems there was a lot of finger pointing – and scapegoat making – related to MMT meetings cancelled, etc. during the mission. To be clear, was there anything that could have saved them once they were in orbit?

  17. DougSpace says:

    Hi Wayne, I listened to you on a Space Show archive and wanted to ask a question. You can reply by email if you wish. If we had a fuel depot at EML1 and had lunar ice harvesting and processing to propellant, could it be delivered from the Moon to L1 at any time. Secondly, could propellant be delivered from L1 to any Earth orbital plane at any time? In short, would we need LEO depots with this system or could there be just-in-time deliveries anywhere in LEO?

    Thanks, Doug (dougspace007ATgmailDOTcom)

  18. Steve Cutchen says:

    Hi Wayne,
    Don’t know if you knew my dad Bob Cutchen. We moved to Houston in 1963 with the first group of Philco engineers from Palo Alto to build the original mission control center. He served as the shuttle program manager for Ford Aerospace. He taught me that you couldn’t BS your way through problems; that you had to get things out in the open and then figure out what needed to be done. He would have loved spirit behind your blog and the candor with which you write. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

  19. David Soto says:

    From someone who has recently turned 50 and have worked in NASA programs for 25 years, thank you for this web site and insight.

  20. Reading this blog 10 years after the fact is fascinating. I was on the assignment desk at KTVT the morning the shuttle broke apart — a day just like this — and it was all hands on deck at the station for days on this story. News crews everywhere — E Texas, N Texas, UTA. Space experts in studio. All those days of searching for debris. What a massive, grief-stricken undertaking it must have been for so many people. I remember our photog driving all the way out to Rice High School because someone had found a piece of debris on the high school roof. I’m glad to hear the backside of the story, as we always tend to wonder exactly how everything happened.

    As someone who grew up in Houston, NASA always seems a part of us. It’s personal. Thanks for adding some details to the story…. And sorry for the bad reporting….

  21. Dennis Armstrong says:

    Hello Wayne. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us. It is great to read about your experiences in the shuttle program. I have been an avid space flight enthusiast for a very long time. In fact I named my son after Neil Armstrong. His full name is Neil Andrew Steven Armstrong. This was to honour and recognise the effort and commitment it takes, from so many unnamed professional people who applied their creativity to achieve so much. Lets hope that the acorn they planted will grow into a thriving tree. And not be stunted by the lack of truth. Thanks again for a great read.

  22. Paul says:

    Mr Hale, as an experienced military pilot who is deeply involved in safety management, thank you for your enlightened and at times, inspiring posts. I look forward to reading more in the future.

    Regards, Paul

  23. ed culver says:

    Former aerospace guy here (I was involved in the certification of the ALF-502L turbofan engine, the customer acceptance testing of the ALF-502R3, NASA’s QCGAT program at one of the vendors, NASA’s propfan program, aircraft propellers, and structural testing, LO analysis, and aerodynamics of US military helicopters, including the S-65, LHX, and Cypher).

    One of the things which continues to astound me is how unrealistically optimistic many space enthusiasts are about the difficulty of ensuring flight hardware is safe enough for human use.

  24. Thom Hickey says:

    Delighted to have found your fascinating blog Wayne. Looking forward to many visits here. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (drop a nickel!).

  25. Larry Wenger says:

    I saw a report on the Columbia accident that you noted the administrators admonished engineers about their concerns of problems with space flights due to budget and time schedules. Your solution was to listen and ask more questions rather than be dismissive because the logic wasn’t understood.
    Fact is engineers have a different sense of time and budgets. They don’t let ‘time and money’ inhibit their design, development and implications responsibilities. I believe there should be more technical savvy expertise in the administrative ranks of the team to avoid unfortunate failures!

  26. Dear Wayne,
    We recently rolled out a new “Behaviors Model” at our company. Yesterday I hosted a monthly managers meeting at which I played the “Total Failure” story you told recently on NPR. From there, I asked the managers to talk about speaking up — what keeps people from doing it, how can they make it safer, and how we can encourage it. It was a great dialogue that we plan to continue. Just wanted to thank you for your service, and especially for sharing your story. Communication is hard, and we’re trying to get better.

  27. Vern Lovic says:

    Hi Wayne. I recently saw a Fox News clip that included a brief statement you made after it was described that some floating anomaly was found under the Shuttle in 2011. Your response was very interesting because you basically said it was a non-event. Why is it a non-event when we cannot explain something floating along with the Atlantis Shuttle when they were due to land shortly?

    Who made the decision it was harmless, and why has there (as you said) been so many (“many, many, many”) instances of this in our space program and they’ve always ended up that they “didn’t pose us any hazard.”

    Can you tell us more about this official policy of ignoring phenomena like this around our spacecraft? Our military does it as well. The Tic-Tac UAP objects flew around for days before someone on the carrier Nimitz decided to send a plane over to see what they were.

    Thanks for any response. I expect you’ll just delete this and go on your merry way.

  28. Hi Wayne,

    I’m a producer working on an engineering docu-series for the Science Channel.
    I was hoping to get in contact with you to see if you are interested in being involved and speaking about Columbia Space Shuttle.

    The lovely Allan McDonald suggested getting in contact with you. We were lucky enough to film him for the last series which featured the Challenger case.

    Thanks for your time.

    Best wishes,


  29. Ivan Nevarez says:

    Been following you for years, used to work at Rocketdyne in the 2000’s. Always enjoyed your shuttle program emails, and then your NASA blog, and now this blog.

    One that always stuck out to me was about your college course where you learned about the Chinese explorers of the early 1400’s. So when I came across this new article from PBS NOVA, it brought me right back to your original story. I’m glad that history was being taught at least at one college all those years ago.

    Looking forward to you future posts.

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