Michael Ciancone is an engineer with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas. He currently serves as the NASA Lead for safety and mission assurance (S&MA) on the European Service Module of the Orion Program. He received a BS in Engineering (Fluid and Thermal Sciences) and a BA in Psychology from Case Western Reserve University.
Mr. Ciancone started his career with NASA as a research engineer, but soon transitioned to the fledgling space station program as a subsystem engineer for solar dynamic and photovoltaic power systems at the NASA Lewis Research Center (LeRC) in Cleveland, Ohio. During this time, he spent one year at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC as a Technical Policy Analyst. Following his return from DC, Mr. Ciancone served as the Safety Manager for Work Package-04 (Electrical Power System) of Space Station Freedom. Following the consolidation of space station work at JSC, Mr. Ciancone served as the System Safety Lead for LeRC payload experiments on the Space Shuttle Microgravity Science Laboratory (MSL) mission (STS-83/94). Following the completion of that mission, Mr. Ciancone accepted an offer to transfer to JSC to serve as the Executive Director of the STS/ISS Payload Safety Review Panel. In this capacity, he managed the safety review of hundreds of payload experiments on both Shuttle and the ISS, and negotiated the formation of comparable safety review panels by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). When the Constellation Program was begun, he was assigned to support the system safety effort, which in turn led to his current assignment on the Orion Program.
Mr. Ciancone prepared Foreword to Spaceflight: An Illustrated Bibliography of Pre-1958 Publications on Rocketry and Space Travel (Apogee, 2018) as an update to his previous publication, The Literary Legacy of the Space Age (Amore Press, 1998). In his spare time, Mr. Ciancone chairs the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society (AAS) and is a member of the History Committee of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). Amongst his AAS activities, Mr. Ciancone manages the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History and the Emme Award for Astronautical Literature. He also organized publication of the first English translation of Hermann Oberth’s seminal monograph, Die Rakete zu den Planetenrӓumen and was an area editor for Space Exploration and Humanity—A Historical Encyclopedia (2010, ABC-CLIO).. HMr. Ciancone has written articles on David Lasser and Luigi Gussalli and served as the Guest Curator on the “Cleveland and Outer Space – The Cleveland Rocket Society (1933-37)” exhibit at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland.
Along the way, Mr. Ciancone founded the NASA Hot Pepper Club at NASA LeRC in 1994 to provide a forum for employees who shared a common interest in the cultivation and/or ingestion of hot peppers and/or hot pepper products.