Shuttle veteran joins X-33 program as deputy manager
Jeff Bland, an engineer and 17-year veteran of NASA's Space Shuttle program, has joined the NASA X-33 Program Office in Palmdale, Calif., as deputy manager.
In his new role, Bland will help lead development of the X-33 technology demonstrator - a half scale, sub-orbital technology demonstrator for a next-generation space plane.
The X-33 is being developed in a partnership between NASA and the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company operating site - formerly the "Skunk Works" - in Palmdale. Managed for NASA by the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., the X-33 program is designed to demonstrate advanced technologies that will dramatically increase launch vehicle reliability and safety, while lowering the cost of putting a pound of payload into space from $10,000 to $1,000.
Before accepting the X-33 deputy manager position, Bland managed the NASA resident office at Pratt & Whitney in West Palm Beach, Fla. There he led a NASA team working with Pratt & Whitney to deliver high-pressure turbopumps for the Space Shuttle Main Engines.
Bland began his engineering career in 1980 with D'Applonia Consulting Inc., in Pittsburgh, where he performed structural analysis for nuclear power - More - 2-2-2 Space Shuttle veteran joins X-33 technology plants. He joined the Marshall Center in 1982 to work on structural analysis for complex Space Shuttle engine designs.
In 1987, as a senior structural engineer, Bland joined a NASA team established at Thiokol, Inc., in Brigham City, Utah, to help redesign the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor following the Challenger accident.
He was assigned to the NASA Resident Office at Pratt & Whitney in 1988 where he served as a senior engineering representative for nine years until becoming resident office manager.
Bland earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1980 and a master's degree in civil engineering in 1982 from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He recently received a master's degree in business administration from the University of Florida in Gainesville.
He and his wife, the former Janice E. Ayles, have three children, Christopher, Stephanie, and Lindsay.
They are planning to make their home in the Palmdale area.