Dava Newman

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Dava J. Newman
Dava Newman, official portrait.jpg
Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
In office
May 15, 2015 – January 20, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byLori Garver
Succeeded byJames Morhard
Personal details
Born1964 (age 56–57)
Helena, Montana
Spouse(s)Guillermo Trotti
Alma materUniversity of Notre Dame (B.S., 1986)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (dual S.M., 1989; PhD, 1992)

Dava J. Newman (born 1964) is a former Deputy Administrator of NASA.[1] Newman earned her Ph.D. in aerospace biomedical engineering, and Master of Science degrees in aerospace engineering and technology and policy all from MIT, and her Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame. Newman is the Apollo Program Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Harvard–MIT Health, Sciences, and Technology faculty member in Cambridge, MA. She is also a MacVicar Faculty Fellow (awarded for contributions to undergraduate education), former Director of the Technology and Policy Program at MIT (2003–2015), and has been the current Director of the MIT Portugal Program since 2011. As the Director of MIT’s Technology and Policy Program (TPP), she led the Institute’s largest multidisciplinary graduate research program, with over 1,200 alumni. She has been a faculty member in her home department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and MIT’s School of Engineering since 1993. In December 2020, she was named as the new director of the MIT Media Lab.[2]


Newman’s research expertise is in aerospace biomedical engineering, investigating human performance in varying gravity environments. Newman was the principal investigator on four spaceflight missions.[3] The Space Shuttle Dynamic Load Sensors (DLS) experiment measured astronaut-induced disturbances of the microgravity environment[clarification needed] on mission STS-62. The Enhanced Dynamic Load Sensors experiment flew on board the Mir Space Station from 1996–1998. Newman was a Co-Investigator on the Mental Workload and Performance Experiment (MWPE) that flew on STS-42 to measure astronaut mental workload and fine motor control in microgravity.[4][5] She also developed the MICR0-G space flight experiment to provide a sensor suite and study human adaptation in extreme environments.[6] She was the MIT Principal Investigator on the Gravity Loading Countermeasure Suit, or Skinsuit, which flew the International Space Station as an ESA technology demonstration from 2015 to 2017.[7]

Newman is best known for promoting the development of space activity suits, namely the BioSuit, which would provide pressure through compression directly on the skin via the suit's textile weave, patterning, and materials rather than with pressurized gas. The suit is designed to help astronauts move around more easily than gas-filled suits allow.[8][9][10] These spacesuit technologies are now[when?] being applied to "soft suits" to study and enhance locomotion on Earth. Newman is the author of Interactive Aerospace Engineering and Design, an introductory engineering textbook, has published more than 300 papers in journals and refereed conferences, and holds numerous[11] compression technology patents.

NASA Deputy Administratorship[edit]

In October 2014, Newman was nominated by President Barack Obama as Deputy Administrator of NASA,[12] but the U.S. Senate returned the nomination to the President in December 2014 when the 113th Congress adjourned without having confirmed her for the position.[13] Under Senate rules, in order for Newman to be confirmed, Obama needed to re-nominate her to the Senate of the 114th Congress, and he did so on January 8, 2015.[14][15] Her confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation was held March 25, 2015,[16] and the Committee unanimously recommended approval by the full Senate.[17] She was confirmed by the Senate on April 27, 2015.[18] She resigned the position upon the end of the Obama administration on January 20, 2017.[19]


Select honors include the NASA Distinguished Service Medal (2017), Women in Aerospace Leadership Award (2017), and the Aerospace Medical Association’s Henry L. Taylor Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Aerospace Human Factors (2017). Her BioSuit spacesuit system has been exhibited at the Venice Biennial (2015), the American Museum of Natural History (2012), the Victoria and Albert and Museum, London (2012), the Paris City Museum of Science and Industry (2010), the London Museum of Science and Industry (2009), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2008). She was awarded Best Invention of 2007 by Time Magazine, named in 100 Extraordinary Women Engineers in 2004, and received the Women in Aerospace National Aerospace Educator Award (2001).

Newman is a former housemaster of MIT's Baker House.[20][21]

Partial bibliography[edit]

Newman, D.J., Interactive Aerospace Engineering and Design, Introductory engineering textbook with accompanying interactive CD-ROM, McGraw-Hill, Inc., January 2002.

Saleh, J.H., Hastings, D.E., and D.J. Newman, "Weaving Time into System Architecture: Satellite Cost per Operational Day and Optimal Design Lifetime," Acta Astronautica, 54:413-431, 2004.

Ferguson, P. A., Krebs, C. P., Stirling, L. A., Newman, D. J., “Kinetic and Kinematic Sensing System for the MICRO-G /Adapt International Space Station Experiment”, IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, June, 2006.

Jordan, N. C., Saleh, J. H., Newman, D. J., “The extravehicular mobility unit: A review of environment, requirements, and design changes in the US spacesuit”, Acta Astronautica, Volume 59, Issue 12, Pages 1135-1145, July 2006.

Newman, D.J., Canina, M. Trotti, G.L., “Revolutionary Design for Astronaut Exploration – Beyond the Bio-Suit”, CP880, Space Technology and Applications International Forum—STAIF-2007, Albuquerque, NM, February 11–15, 2007.

Carr, C. E., Newman, D. J., “Space Suit Bioenergetics: Framework and Analysis of Unsuited and Suited Activity”, Aviation, Space Environmental Medicine, 78:1013-1022, 2007.

Johnson, A.W., Hoffman, J.A., Newman, D.J., Mazarico, E.M., and Zuber, M.T., "An Integrated Traverse Planner and Analysis Tool for Future Planetary Exploration", AIAA 2010-8829, SPACE 2010, Anaheim, CA, 2010.

Stirling, L., Newman, D.J., Willcox, K., “Self-Rotations in Simulated Microgravity: Performance Effects of Strategy Training" Journal of Aviation, Space Environmental Medicine, vol. 80 no. 1, pp. 5–14, 2009.

Stirling, L., Willcox, K., Newman, D., “Development of a Computational Model for Astronaut Reorientation”, Journal of Biomechanics, Vol. 43, Issue 12, pp. 2309–2314, August 2010.

R. A. Opperman, J. M. Waldie, A. Natapoff, D. J. Newman, J. A. Jones, “Probability of Spacesuit-Induced Fingernail Trauma is associated with Hand Circumference,” J Aviat, Space Env Med, 81, 907-913, 2010.

Wagner, E.B., Granzella, N.P., Saito, N., Newman, D.J., Young, L.R., Bouxsein, M.L., “Partial weight Suspension: A Novel Murine Model for Investigation Adaptation to Reduce Musculoskeletal Loading”, J Applied Physiology, 109:350-357, 2010.

Waldie, J., Newman, D., “A Gravity Loading Countermeasure Skinsuit”, Acta Astronautica, 68(7-8):722-730, 2011.

Pfotenhauer, Sebastian M., et al. "Seeding Change through International University Partnerships: The MIT-Portugal Program as a Driver of Internationalization, Networking, and Innovation." Higher Education Policy, 2012.

Wessendorf, A.M. and Newman, D.J., Dynamic Understanding of Human-Skin Movement and Strain-Field Analysis, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 59(12):3432-3438, 2012.

Duda, K., Vasquez, R., Newman, D.J., “Variable Vector Countermeasure Suit (V2Suit) for Space Exploration", IEEE Explore, 978-1-4673-1813-6, 2013. Holschuh, B., Obropta, E., Newman, D.J., "Low Spring Index NiTi Coil Actuators for Use in Active Compression Garments, IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, 20(3):1264-1277, 2015.

Melo, P., Silva, M., Martins, J., and Newman, D.J., "Technical Developments of Functional Electrical Stimulation to Correct Drop Foot: Sensing, Actuation and Control Strategies", Journal of Clinical Biomechanics, 30(2):101-113, 2015.

Holschuh, B., and Newman, D. "Two-Spring Model for Active Compression Textiles with Integrated NiTi Coil Actuators," Smart Mater. Struct. 24, 2015. Anderson, Y. Menguc, R. Wood, D. Newman, Development of the Polipo Pressure Sensing System for Dynamic Space-Suited Motion, IEEE Sensors Journal, Vol. 15(11):6229-6237, 2015.

P. L. Melo, M. T. Silva, J. M. Martins, D. J. Newman, A Microcontroller Platform for The Rapid Prototyping of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)-based Gait Neuroprostheses, Artif Organs, 39(5):E56-66, May 2015.

B Holschuh, D Newman, Morphing Compression Garments for Space Medicine and Extravehicular Activity Using Active Materials, Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance 87 (2), 84-92, 2016.

Newman, D.J., Wood, D., Roos, D., Pfotenhauer., S., Architecting complex international science, technology and innovation partnerships (CISTIPs): A study of four global MIT collaborations, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 104, March 2016, Pages 38–56.

Wood, D. and Newman, D. “The Innovation Landscape within a Large Government Agency: Promising Practices from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)”, 67th International Astronautical Congress, Guadalajara, Mexico, Sept. 2016.

Ekblaw, A., Prosina, A., Newman, D.J., and Paradiso, J., "Space Habitat Reconfigurability: TESSERAE platform for self-aware assembly." 30th IAA SYMPOSIUM ON SPACE AND SOCIETY (Space Architecture: Habitats, Habitability, and Bases). Proceedings of the IAF International Astronautical Congress 2019. **


  1. ^ Sharkey, Jim (May 19, 2015). "Dava Newman Starts Work as NASA's Deputy Administrator". Spaceflight Insider. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  2. ^ https://news.mit.edu/2020/media-lab-director-newman-1222
  3. ^ "Dava Newman". Ann and H.J. Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences. 2017-11-06. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  4. ^ "Experiment Information: Mental Workload and Performance Experiment (15-IML-1)". NASA: Life Sciences Data Archive. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  5. ^ Newman, D. J.; Lathan, C. E. (1999). "Memory processes and motor control in extreme environments". IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics. Part C, Applications and Reviews. 29 (3): 387–394. doi:10.1109/5326.777074. ISSN 1094-6977. PMID 11542391.
  6. ^ Rojo, Sara, ed. (2019-04-23). "Dava Newman". NASA. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  7. ^ "Dava Newman". MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  8. ^ W., William (2 September 2012). "MIT Professor Has Created a Safer, Skin Tight Space Suit That Will Make It Easier to Work on Mars". Space Industry News. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  9. ^ Malik, Tariq (18 July 2007). "MIT Develops Sleeker, Slimmed-Down Spacesuit". Fox News. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  10. ^ Bettex, Morgan (13 October 2010). "Safeguarding astronauts' hands". R&D Daily. Archived from the original on 2012-03-09. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  11. ^ "Dava J. Newman Inventions, Patents and Patent Applications - Justia Patents Search". patents.justia.com. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  12. ^ Chandler, David L. (17 October 2014). "Dava Newman nominated for NASA post" (Press release). MIT News. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  13. ^ Presidential nomination no. 2091, "Dava J. Newman, of Massachusetts, to be Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, vice Lori Garver, resigned", 113th Congress, November 12, 2014. Accessed March 26, 2015.
  14. ^ Earnest, Josh (January 8, 2015). "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate". whitehouse.gov. Office of the Press Secretary. Retrieved March 26, 2015 – via National Archives. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ Presidential nomination no. 43, Dava J. Newman, of Massachusetts, to be Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, vice Lori Garver, resigned, 114th Congress, January 8, 2015. Accessed March 26, 2015.
  16. ^ "Senate Reviews Dava Newman's Nomination to be NASA Deputy Administrator". Space Ref. spaceref.com. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  17. ^ Deedy, Alexander (March 26, 2015). "Helena native Dava Newman one step closer to high-ranking NASA position". Independent Record (Helena, Montana). Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  18. ^ "Dava Newman confirmed as NASA deputy administrator". Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  19. ^ "Former Deputy Administrator Dava Newman". NASA. 2015-05-18. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  20. ^ "Housemasters". About Baker House. MIT. 13 February 2010.
  21. ^ "Three undergraduate communities to welcome new housemasters this fall". Retrieved 2015-09-16.

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