For release: 04/08/02
Release #: 02-080
Arkansas native named deputy director of NASA’s Marshall Center engineering lab
M. Ralph Carruth Jr. has been named deputy manager of the Materials, Processes, and Manufacturing Department in the Engineering Directorate at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
In his new position, Carruth will oversee the work of several hundred engineers and technicians who conduct test and analyses; build hardware for a wide range of NASA programs, including the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station; and develop new technology for future launch and space vehicles.
Carruth began his career at NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., in 1978 as an engineer. In 1981, he moved to the Marshall Center as an aerospace engineer, assigned to the Electronics and Control Laboratory. Since that time, he has also served at Marshall as chief of the Physical Sciences Branch, chief of the Engineering Physics Division, and head of the Environmental Effects Group in the Materials, Processes, and Manufacturing Department.
"NASA continues to conduct amazing explorations and produce scientific results that everyone can be excited about,” said Carruth. “Some of NASA's future plans are aimed at further exploring the solar system and developing launch vehicles to get us to space in a very reliable and much less expensive manner. I'm really excited about being able to play a bigger part in these plans through my new position."
Carruth grew up near Malvern, Ark., graduating from Poyen High School, in Poyen, Ark., in 1971. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway in 1975, his first master’s degree in physics from the University of Arkansas in 1978. In 1989, he completed a master’s in theoretical physics at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Carruth is internationally recognized as an authority on ion propulsion and the interactions of thrusters with spacecraft. He has received dozens of awards during his career, and is considered a pioneer of techniques dealing with atomic oxygen interaction with material.
Carruth is married to the former Sharon Poye of Pine Bluff, Ark. The couple has four children, Daniel, Jason, Brian, and RaeAnne. Carruth, his wife and daughter reside in Huntsville.