Allan J. McDonald received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Montana State University in 1959 and an M.S. in Engineering Administration from the University of Utah in 1967; retiring in 2001 from ATK Thiokol Propulsion after a 42-year career with the company.  He was the Director of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor Project at the time of the Challenger accident and led the redesign of the solid rocket motors as Vice President of Engineering for Space Operations.  He has several patents related to rocket propulsion, published over 80 technical papers that have been presented in national and international conferences, and received numerous professional awards.

He received an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from Montana State University in 1986, was selected as Montana State University’s Centennial Alumnus in 1987 by the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, is a Fellow member and a Distinguished Lecturer for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and was a member from 1992-2014 of the Board of Directors of Orbital Technologies Corporation in Madison, Wisconsin which was merged with Sierra Nevada Corporation in 2014. He was appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the Air Force Test Pilots School at Edwards AFB in 2014, is currently involved in a Leadership Program taught by Dr. Mark Maier of Chapman University in Orange, CA, and is a member of an “Engineering Ethics Panel” funded by a grant from the United Engineering Foundation.

Dr. McDonald published a book in March 2009 through the University Press of Florida titled: Truth, Lies, and O-rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster with Dr. James R. Hansen, author of the New York Times bestseller FIRST MAN – The Life of Neil A. Armstrong. (Simon & Schuster 2005). McDonald also contributed a Chapter to The Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering, Vol. 2. Propulsion and Power, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., December 2010.

Dr. McDonald is the only person in American history to be reinstated to his job by an act of  Congress.