Randy Olmstead-Cameron Graduate lead role in developing Orion CPAS
NASA will be launching the Orion Spacecraft later this year which will allow astronauts to reach farther into our Solar System than ever before. A crucial element in the spacecraft’s success will be the parachute recovery system allowing the astronauts to return safely to Earth.
Cameron High School graduate Randy Olmstead played the lead role in developing the Orion Capsule Parachute Assembly System (CPAS). He was an aeronautical engineer for Airborne Systems North America, the contractor selected to develop the system.
The parachute assembly will have the job of stabilizing the space capsule and slowing the capsule’s descent from 300 mph to about 17 mph for splashdown. All tests of the parachute assembly have been successfully tested at the Army’s Yuma Proving Grounds. The parachute assembly must be able to deploy in a precise sequence, using mortars for the launch.
Randy gained much recognition and gratitude from NASA and the aerospace industry for the recovery system development.
Randy graduated from Cameron High School in 1975. He then attended the University of Missouri in Columbia, majoring in Music, and as a member of the Marching Band. However, before completing his Music degree, he transferred to the University of Missouri at Rolla, where he graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering.
Randy married Sheila Farnan of Cameron. He then joined the United States Air Force. He took basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. He went on from there to serve at Keesler AFB in Biloxi (MS), Shaw AFB at Sumpter (SC), Peterson AFB (CO), and the Naval Weapons Station at Huntington Beach (CA). He retired in 2002 with the rank of Major.
After the military, Randy went into the Aerospace industry. He worked for Boeing, Northrup-Grumman, and finally for Airborne Systems North America.
Following military retirement, he went to work in the Aerospace industry, working with Boeing, Northrup-Grumman, and finally for Airborne Systems, North America. He worked closely on projects with NASA and when Airborne Systems received the contract to develop the parachute assembly, Randy was the lead engineer.
Randy passed away in 2014 and will unfortunately miss the scheduled launch of the Orion Spacecraft scheduled for June of 2020. But his family can take great pride when it successfully returns to Earth.