Bruce Edward Melnick (born December 5, 1949) is a former American astronaut and retired United States Coast Guard officer. Following retirement from NASA and the Coast Guard, he entered the aerospace industry. He served as a Vice President with the Boeing Co.'s Integrated Defense Systems group, in charge of Boeing's Florida operations at the John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Melnick retired in 2008 and currently resides on Merritt Island, Florida.

Early life and educationEdit

Melnick was born December 5, 1949, in New York City, New York, but considers Clearwater, Florida, to be his hometown. He graduated from Clearwater High School, Clearwater, Florida, in 1967. He attended Georgia Institute of Technology for a year, and then went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in Engineering from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1972, and a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Systems from the University of West Florida in 1975. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science degree from the University of West Florida on 28 April 2001.[1]

Coast Guard careerEdit

Melnick spent 20 years in the United States Coast Guard, rising to the rank of Commander. His assignments included serving as operations officer and chief test pilot at the Coast Guard Aircraft Program Office in Grand Prairie, Texas. In that capacity, he conducted most of the developmental and all of the acceptance test flights for the HH-65 Dolphin helicopter, including sea trials, and wrote the HH-65 flight manual.

During his Coast Guard service, Melnick received numerous awards, including two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and the Secretary of Transportation Heroism Award.

In 1992, he received the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Distinguished Alumni Award. He logged over 5,000 hours flying time, predominantly in the HH-3F Pelican, HH-52 Sea Guard, HH-65 Dolphin, and T-38 Talon aircraft. Melnick was selected by NASA in 1987 and became an astronaut in August 1988 with the missions STS-41 and STS-49. He was the first Coast Guard aviator to participate in the space program, and was the first Coast Guard aviator into space.

Commander Melnick retired from the U.S. Coast Guard and left NASA in July 1992.

Aerospace-industry careerEdit

Currently, Bruce Melnick is the Vice President for Boeing Florida Operations at the John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Melnick’s organization, a part of the Boeing Integrated Defense Systems group, provides a variety of support services to Boeing programs in the state. Headquartered in Titusville, Florida, the organization has approximately 2,400 employees. Services provided by Boeing in Florida include engineering, facilities and maintenance support to NASA and the Department of Defense for the Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Delta rocket programs. Melnick is also responsible for the pursuit of new business for the company in Florida.

Melnick was formerly the Boeing Company Vice President at KSC for the Payload Ground Operations Contract with NASA, with 1,600 employees. The contract included all the engineering and facilities support and maintenance activities related to preparing spacecraft and/or payloads for the Space Shuttle missions prior to launch and after landing. The division also provided support to NASA and its contractors for the International Space Station hardware.

Prior to joining Boeing (McDonnell Douglas at the time), Melnick was Vice President/Director for Shuttle Engineering at United Space Alliance, formerly Lockheed Martin Space Operations, from 1994 to 1996. From 1992 to 1994, he was Director of Process Improvement Technology at Lockheed Space Operations Company.



Board of Directors:

  • Astronaut Memorial Planetarium
  • Crosswinds Youth Services, Inc.
  • National Space Club
  • Florida Space Research Institute
  • Florida Space Authority
  • Economic Development Commission
  • Space Coast Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Board of Governors:

Brevard Community College Foundation

Board of Advisors:

  • University of Central Florida, College of Engineering
  • Florida Institute of Technology, College of Business
  • University of West Florida, Institute for Interdisciplinary
  • Study of Human and Machine Cognition


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