Log In

Paul William Richards Edit Profile

Mechanical engineer

Paul William Richards, American mechanical engineer. Recipient Honor award National Honorary Mechanical Engineering Society, 1984.


Richards, Paul William was born on May 20, 1964 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States. Son of James Joseph and Angela (Cordaro) Richards.


Graduated from Dunmore High School, Dunmore, Pennsylvania, in 1982. Received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from in 1987 and a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1991. Richards is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, American Society of Naval Engineers, United States Naval Reserves.


He flew aboard one Space Shuttle mission in 2001. Department of the Navy, Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station, 1983-1987. Transferred to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in 1987.

Worked in the Verification Office, Electromechanical Branch, Robotics Branch, Guidance and Controls Branch, all within the Engineering Directorate. Senior EVA Tool Development Engineer for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Servicing Project. Project Manager for HST EVA crew aids and tools.

Program Manager for HST EVA Hardware. Responsibilities included the budget, schedule, design, analysis, fabrication, test, and integration for breadboard, WETF/NBS, engineering, and flight hardware, documentation, and review process. Additional duties included systems engineering support for the HST WETF/NBS Servicing Mission Simulations as a utility diver and EMU suited subject.

Selected by NASA in April 1996, Richards reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. Having completed two years of training and evaluation, he is qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. Richards was initially assigned to the Computer Branch working on software for the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.

He next served in the Astronaut Office Shuttle Operations Branch assigned to support Payload and General Support Computers (PGSCs) and the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL). Richards flew on STS-102 and has logged over 307 hours in space, including 6.4 EVA hours. He was assigned as a back-up crewmember for ISS Expedition-7.

Richards retired from NASA in February 2002 to pursue private interests. In 2004 Richards returned to NASA GSFC as the Observatory Manager for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R Series). The GOES-R series is the next-generation of advanced weather satellites being developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in partnership with NASA. Spaceflights STS-102 Discovery (March 8-21, 2001) was the eighth Shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station.

Richards performed an EVA totaling 6 hours and 21 minutes. Mission duration was 307 hours and 49 minutes.


  • NASA Certificate of Recognition for Patent Application (1996)Silver Snoopy award (1994)NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal (1994)HST First Servicing Mission Development TeamHST First Servicing Mission Extravehicular Activity TeamHST First Servicing Mission Crew Aids and Tools Development TeamHST First Servicing Mission Integration and Test TeamHST First Servicing Mission Space Support Equipment TeamNASA Manned Flight Awareness Award (1994)NASA Outstanding Performance Awards (1992, 1994, 1995)Quality Increase Award (1993)Certificate of Outstanding Performance (1990, 1993, 1994)Group Achievement Award UARS and GRO MMS and UASE Support Team (1992)NASA Certificate of Recognition for Invention Disclosure (1991)NASA Certificate of Recognition for Technical Brief (1991).


  • Other Work

    • Patentee robotic wrist.


Volunteer Special Olympics, Washington, 1988-1991, Doing Something, Washington,1991. Ens. United States Naval Reserve, since 1990. Member American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, National Society Professional Engineers, American Society Naval Engineers, Maryland.

Society Professional Engineers, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Aircraft Club, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Scuba Club.


  • Other Interests

    Avocations: running, flying, scuba diving, cycling.


James Joseph Richards

Angela (Cordaro) Richards