Allan J. McDonald received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Montana State University in 1959 and an M.S. in Engineering Administration from the University of Utah in 1967; retiring in 2001 from ATK Thiokol Propulsion after a 42-year career with the company. He was the Director of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor Project at the time of the Challenger accident and led the redesign of the solid rocket motors as Vice President of Engineering for Space Operations. He has several patents related to rocket propulsion, published over 80 technical papers that have been presented in national and international conferences, and received numerous professional awards.
He received an Honorary Doctor of Engineering from Montana State University in 1986, was selected as Montana State University’s Centennial Alumnus in 1987 by the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, is a Fellow member and a Distinguished Lecturer for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and was a member of the Board of Directors of Orbital Technologies Corporation in Madison, Wisconsin from 1992-2014 prior to the merger of ORBITEC with Sierra Nevada Corporation in 2014. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Air Force Test Pilots School at Edwards Air Force Base in California, a member of Dr. Mark Maier’s Servant Leadership Program at Chapman University in Orange, CA, and a member of an “Engineering Ethics Panel” funded by a grant from the United Engineering Fund.
Mr. McDonald published a book in 2009 through the University Press of Florida titled: Truth, Lies, and O-rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster with Dr. James R. Hansen, author of the New York Times bestseller FIRST MAN – The Life of Neil A. Armstrong (Simon & Schuster 2005) and he also provided a chapter to the Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering, Vol. 2, Propulsion and Power, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., December 2010.
Allan McDonald is the only person in American history that was reinstated to his job by an act of Congress.