Manhattan Beach's 'Easy Reader' Profiles Danny Olivas and OMS117

The July 9 Easy Reader profiled Danny Olivas, noting his accomplishments while at NASA as well as detailing his achievements since retiring from the space program. In addition to recounting Olivas' adventures during the STS-117 flight and spacewalk to repair the shuttle, the article acquaints its readers with accounts of how he is using Lessons Learned in Space™ to benefit terrestrial companies worldwide.

"That year [2013], he also founded OMS117, which helps businesses 'think like an astronaut.' The letters stand for 'Olivas Mission Success.' The number is the number of his first space mission."

“What we’re trying to do is take lessons learned in space and introduce them to terrestrial industries,” Olivas told the Easy Reader. “At a lot of big companies, drift occurs. They’re so big, no one’s really sure who has the ball at any given time.”

Anderson described Olivas' work for companies sued after accidents or disasters and his Mission Assurance models that helps them prevent similar future occurrences. One example she noted is Office Depot, which hired him after the Consumer Product Safety Commission began investigating the company for not timely reporting complaints about a few of its products. In May, the company reached a settlement agreement with the government that included establishing a safety program. The settlement amount was significantly reduced as a result of the work Olivas performed for the company.

To read the entire article, follow this link:



Manhattan Beach Recognizes Astronaut and Mission Assurance Expert Danny Olivas

The city of Manhattan Beach honored astronaut and mission assurance expert Dr. John “Danny” Olivas as a distinguished citizen in a ceremony held June 16, 2015.

“It was an honor and privilege to recognize you,” said Mayor Wayne Powell, who presented Dr. Olivas with a plaque to memorialize the event. “Our community holds you in high esteem.”

After retiring from NASA, Dr. Olivas and his family relocated to Manhattan Beach in 2010 where he founded his engineering and mission assurance consulting firm OMS117 in 2013. Dr. Olivas is married to Marie Olivas, and the couple have five children, Isabella, James, Anthony, Joseph and Gabrielle. The family attends American Martyrs Church.

Dr. Olivas also currently serves as director of the Center for the Advancement of Space Safety and Mission Assurance at the University of Texas, El Paso; as a field editor for the Journal of Space Safety Engineering; and as a member of the Board of Counselors for USC Marshall’s Master of Business for Veterans Career Development Program. His civic involvement includes volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America as a troop leader; fundraising efforts for the California Science Center; and career and education counseling with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. 

Danny Olivas Joins USC Marshall's Board of Counselors for Veterans Career Development Program

 This month, Danny Olivas officially joined the Board of Counselors for the University of Southern California, Marshall’s Master of Business for Veterans (MBV) Career Development Program. MBV Counselors help veteran students transfer from military service to civilian careers by advising and connecting students with professional opportunities for career advancement and professional development. To support MBV students, Counselors participate in informational interviews, during which the students question them about specific industries, companies and careers to enable them to make informed career choices. They often connect the students to their own professional networks to help expand opportunities. Board members are selected from business leaders who have reached the level of success in their professions that allows them the time and ability to advise and assist MBV students, and who also have respect and appreciation for the contributions and sacrifices veterans have made for their country. Members serve for two-year terms. About USC Marshall’s MBV Program The recently launched MBV program is an innovative new approach to educating and transitioning qualified armed forces members into the nation’s executive workforce. The leadership and management experience MBV students obtain while in the military enables them to earn a Master degree in one year. Because of the brevity of the program, coupled with the lack of private-sector experience for veterans whose resumes may only include their military missions, the role of MBV Counselors plays a significant role in providing a seamless transition from military to private business and professional leadership.

Danny Olivas Named as Field Editor for the Journal of Space Safety Engineering

John "Danny" Olivas, Ph.D., P.E., president of Los Angeles-based OMS117, director of space initiatives at the Center for the Advancement of Space Safety and Mission Assurance Research (CASSMAR), and a former NASA astronaut and mission specialist, has joined the Journal of Space Safety Engineering as a field editor.

As a field editor, he will review papers submitted under space safety and other human factor related topics around human spaceflight. He will help determine which papers are accepted for publication. When necessary, he obtains advice from outside experts.

Olivas encourages professionals interested in writing for the journal to contact him through CASSMAR at

About the Journal of Space Safety Engineering

The Journal of Space Safety Engineering (JSEE) is a quarterly publication of the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS). The journal’s focus is to communicate space safety issues to engineers and scientists working in research and development programs. It promotes space safety by providing a forum for peer-reviewed technical work. For more information, follow this link:

About OMS117

OMS117 is a team of veteran scientists, engineers and business people who combine dozens of years of experience, across disciplines, to evaluate mission-critical systems from every angle. Each member of the team has both a prestigious academic background and extensive hands-on practical experience. By design, the team works together in a collaborative, collegial way -- each team member is encouraged to comment, challenge and bring their special expertise, experience and perspective to every engagement. For more information, log on to


The Center for the Advancement of Space Safety and Mission Assurance Research at the University of Texas at El Paso, focuses on risk-reduction research to make commercial human spaceflight safe and successful. For more information, follow this link:

Problem with Russian Proton Rocket Bears a Striking Similarity to Prior Year’s Failure

A Russian proton rocket launched Saturday in Kazakhstan to deploy a satellite for Mexico’s $1.6 billion space-based communications network crashed in Siberia shortly after liftoff. According to New York Times reporter David M. Herszenhorn, “The failure appeared to have occurred with the rocket’s third stage, which was intended to bring the satellite to an altitude of about 110 miles. At that point, it was supposed to be propelled by engines into geostationary orbit. Instead, there was a catastrophic failure. The stream of telemetry data sent back by the rocket failed about a minute before the satellite was to enter orbit.” See, “Russian Rocket Carrying Mexican Satellite Said to Crash in Siberia,”

While the data is still very preliminary, the signature is quite similar to that which resulted in the May 2014 launch failure. On behalf of the Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT), Mexico’s transport and communications ministry, I was asked to participate as a non-voting member in the Failure Review Oversight Board investigation held by International Launch Services (ILS) last year in Moscow to examine that failure. While the Proton rocket has been the workhorse for the Russian government, launching satellites since the mid-1960s, the nearly 400 launches and their success have been overshadowed in the last three and a half years by six very public launch anomalies/failures.

It is clear that opportunity for process drift and/or escapes can occur in even the most seasoned programs. My thoughts and best wishes go out to my friends both in STC and Khrunichev/ILS. Make no mistake, spaceflight remains hard.  Lapses in mission assurance result in the unwanted attention associated with failure to perform.

Jacobs Technology Puts on Red Cape for Space Safety and Mission Assurance

Orbital debris – perhaps the greatest threat to human space exploration – has just met its nemesis: Houston’s Jacobs Technology, a Fortune 500 engineering, architecture and construction firm, one of America’s most trustworthy companies, and now a space superhero.

Jacobs and the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) this month entered a five-year, $5 million partnership to create research opportunities for students and faculties. The funds also allow UTEP to hire five leading experts in planetary geology and orbital debris to conduct studies at the Houston Johnson Space Center.

Orbital debris are man-made objects that no longer serve a useful purpose in orbit around the earth. These include spent rocket stages, old satellites and fragments from disintegration, erosion and collisions. Almost 20,000 pieces of “space junk” are greater than 2 inches in diameter, large enough to cause significant problems if they collide with operational spacecraft.

The researchers, along UTEP’s Center for the Advancement of Space Safety and Mission Assurance Research (CASSMAR), will also conduct studies to further CASSMAR and NASA’s mission to ensure safer spaceflight overall.

“Partnerships such as this one created by visionaries at Jacobs Technology and UTEP will help make commercial spaceflight a reality,” said former astronaut John “Danny” Olivas, director of space initiatives at CASSMAR. “Research to solve the problem of orbital debris will truly clear a path for more governmental and private space initiatives.”

For more information about this historic partnership, follow these links:

El Paso Times: 

El Diario de El Paso:

El Paso Inc.: 

ECN Magazine: 


Risk-Reduction Research at UTEP Expands Lessons Learned in Space

The future for commercial space travel may now be even closer thanks to research being conducted at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and its Center for the Advancement of Space Safety and Mission Assurance Research (CASSMAR). Students there are collaborating with NASA to use the lessons learned from past space travel to develop new materials for safe and reliable spacecraft.

For part of their research, the students are examining debris from the space shuttle Columbia, focusing on new materials-behavior issues for the first time. When the students determine how different materials respond to the stress of spaceflight, they will recommend what substances are best for engineering future space vehicles.

Former Astronaut John “Danny” Olivas, UTEP’s director of space initiatives at CASSMAR, said, “By leveraging lessons learned in space, this risk-reduction research will help make manned spaceflight safer and directly contribute to the safety of terrestrial products and workplaces.”

For more information about CASSMAR’s research project, follow this link to a Spaceport News article by Bob Granath: