Chilean Miner's Rescue, NASA Plays a Part

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 10:00am EST

  • Location:Dibner Building, Pfizer Auditorium
    New York

Clint Cragg, a member of NASA's Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) at NASA Langley was a member of the four-person NASA team invited to assist with the Chilean miners' rescue.

On August 5, 2010, the San Jose Mine in northern Chile collapsed trapping 33 miners. Seventeen days later, all of the miners were found to be alive and the government of Chile asked for assistance from NASA. Cragg will discuss NASA's site visit, the situation at the mine at the time, and the assistance NASA provided.

The miners endured more than two months in a tunnel 2,041 feet below the surface in Chile's Atacama Desert.

Cragg, a 1978 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, began his military career in the submarine and naval nuclear power training program. His first assignment was the USS Sand Lance, a Sturgeon-class attack submarine. In 1984, he was assigned as the assistant engineer on the USS Trepang and followed that assignment with a tour as the ship's engineer on the USS Alabama. He reported to his first shore tour in 1990 at the Naval War College where he earned masters degrees in strategic studies and international relations.

Cragg did four separate overseas deployments as the executive officer of the USS Tunny and became commanding officer of USS Ohio in October 1996. After completing four strategic deterrent patrols, he was assigned as the Chief of Current Operations, US European Command. While in Europe he participated in a number of military operations including the wars in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2003, Cragg joined NASA as a founding member of the NESC. As a principal engineer, he leads teams of engineers to solve some of NASA's toughest challenges.