Dr. Harold “Sonny” White
Dr. White holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Rice University, a Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Wichita State University, and a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from University of South Alabama. Dr. White has accumulated over 15 years of experience working in the aerospace industry with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and NASA. He currently serves as the Advanced Propulsion Theme Lead for the NASA Engineering Directorate and is the JSC representative to the Nuclear Systems Working Group. In his role, Dr. White is serving to help the Agency incorporate high TRL advanced power and propulsion technologies into near and mid-term human exploration architectures. He is also pursuing theoretical and laboratory research on developing lower TRL advanced propulsion and power technologies in the advanced propulsion physics laboratory known as Eagleworks that is located at the Johnson Space Center. Over the past 15 years, Dr. White has worked with members of academia, industry, and government to further grow this area of research resulting in many published papers, presentations, development and study of physics models, engineering tools, and the implementation and execution of multiple high fidelity experimental efforts.
Dr. White has been recognized many times over the span of his career for his excellent work ethic, exceptional technical skills, abilities as a project manager, and dedication to the pursuit of human space flight. While serving as the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System Manager during Return to Flight, he was awarded the NASA Medal For Excellence in Achievement by the Administrator for his role in getting the Thermal Protection System robotic inspection tools built, delivered and certified to support the STS-114 mission. He was recognized by the crew office with a Silver Snoopy Award for his unwavering commitment to safety and mission success demonstrated by his actions in the discovery and disposition of critical damage to the robotic arm prior to the STS-121 mission. He has also received the Spaceflight Awareness Honoree award for the STS-122 mission, one of the highest, most prestigious awards available to employees of NASA.