Dr. Jonathan Campbell

Principal Research Engineer VI, CAO


301 Sparkman Drive
Optics Building
Room 400
Huntsville, AL 35899
Campus Map



Dr. Campbell graduated from Benjamin Russell High School in 1968 as an Eagle Scout and a Beta Club and National Honor Society selectee. He also received Scouting's God and Country award. Entering Auburn University, he was accepted by Advanced Army ROTC and later selected for the Auburn Ranger Company and the Auburn Cooperative Engineering program. He worked at Pratt and Whitney Aircraft on the SR-71 engines, the F14-B engines, and the RL-10 rocket engines. Honors included Scabbard and Blade, Tau Beta Pi, and Sigma Gamma Tau. Graduating in 1972 with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering as a Distinguished Military Graduate, he received a Regular Army Commission as a 2d Lieutenant and entered graduate school.

Graduating in 1974 with a Masters in Experimental Plasma and Fusion Physics, thesis title - "Measurements Taken On A Transient Helium Plasma Using A Magnetic Probe and Other Diagnostic Techniques," Dr. Campbell reported to Ft. Bliss, Texas to attend the Basic Officer's Air Defense Course and the Chaparral/Vulcan Officer's Course. After graduating as an honor graduate from both courses, he successfully completed the Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, GA and was assigned to the First Infantry Division in Europe. Promoted to Captain at the end of his third year on active duty, he was next assigned to the DIA Missile and Space Intelligence Agency (MSIC) at Redstone Arsenal, AL.

Leaving active duty, Dr. Campbell continued as a civilian at MSIC and joined the Air Force Reserve. He was first assigned to the Air Force Systems Command at Arnold Air Force Station, Tennessee and later to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio at the Foreign Technology Division at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. On 7/7/77, Dr. Campbell realized a dream and completed his first solo and went on to earn his Instrument/Commercial/Certified Instructor (CFI) and Certified Instrument Instructor (CFII) ratings and certificates from the FAA. Today, he is an active flight instructor with over 2000 hours in multiple aircraft. He created and served as the first commander of the Redstone Arsenal Civil Air Patrol Squadron.

He accepted a position at NASA/MSFC in the early 80's and completed an M.S. in Engineering Management, an M.S. in Theoretical Physics, and a Ph.D in Astrophysics and Space Science. His dissertation title was "Imaging the Sun in Hard X-rays Using Fourier Telescopes." He would make contributions to a number of NASA programs including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Space Shuttle Main Engine. He has over 80 publications, holds several patents and patent applications, and has received numerous awards including being selected for Sigma Pi Sigma.

While at NASA/MSFC, Dr. Campbell was assigned next in the Air Force Reserve to the National Air Intelligence Center (NAIC). There, he was promoted to Full Colonel and he pioneered research on the use of lasers in space and the application of Quality Air Force to the NAIC reserves. Next, assigned to Air University as the IMA to the College for Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education Commander, an equivalent Full Professor position, he supported numerous war games, served as a teacher and mentor in the Space curriculum at Air War College and Air Command and Staff College, published several articles in the Air and Space Power Journal, and was instrumental in creating the Reserve Advanced Research Team (RESART). This team served to bridge the conceptual gap between emerging new technologies and Air Force strategy and doctrine. COL Campbell's final contribution to Air University, CADRE, and RESART was a research paper entitled the "Impact Imperative: Emerging Laser Technologies enabling Future Earth Defense CONOPS in Space." The paper's purpose to make folks more aware of the threat to our civilization here on Earth from asteroids, meteoroids, and comets from space and to offer a conceptual solution. He retired from the Air Force Reserve with over 30 years of military experience and received the Air Force Legion of Merit Award.

Continuing at MSFC, Dr. Campbell was selected to be a NASA Administrator's Fellow assigned to Alabama A&M University and The University of Alabama in Huntsville, an equivalent endowed chair/full professor position. There, in addition to several research pursuits, he led a comprehensively successful student research project that the students flew on NASA's reduced gravity, KC135, platform. Completing the fellowship and receiving an Administrator's Fellow award from the NASA administrator he has continued his career at MSFC and supported NASA's Constellation program, orbital debris removal technologies, Planetary Defense technologies, and Planetary Science Missions to Venus, Mars, and the Moon.

Dr. Campbell presently works for The University of Alabama in Huntsville and lives in Madison, Alabama and is married to the former Charlotte Clift. Between the two of them, they are blessed with five sons (1 deceased) and 10 grandchildren. Dr. Campbell is also a Methodist minister serving the Eastern District of the North Alabama Conference, UMC.


  • Ph.D., Astrophysics and Space Science, 1980's
  • M.S., Engineering Management, 1980's
  • M.S., Theoretical Physics, 1980's
  • M.S., Experimental Plasma and Fusion Physics, 1974
  • B.S., Aerospace Engineering, 1972


  • MFS-28794 - A Spatial Modulation Collimator For Viewing The Sun In Hard X-Rays
  • MFS-28795 - A Rotation Modulation Collimator For Viewing The Sun In Hard X-Rays
  • MFS-31093 - Magnetohydrodynamically Augmented Rocket (Mar) Engine
  • MFS-31176 - Rotational-Translational Fourier Imaging System - Serial No. 09/246,193 Filed 12/30/98
  • MFS-31408 - Solar Wing And Tether Mechanisms For Asteroid Uncooperative Docking And Asteroid Orbit Adjustments
  • MFS-31419 - Apparatus & Method For Generating Thrust Using A Two Dimensional, Asymmetrical Capacitor Module -- Filed 3/8/2000. Serial Number 09/520,817
  • MFS-31532 - Laser Induced Material Ablation Propulsion Techniques
  • MFS-31546 - Low Cost Fabrication Approach For High Precision Grids For Neutron, Hard X-Ray, And Gamma-Ray Fourier Imaging Systems
  • MFS-31611 - Performance Improvements For The Asymmetrical Capacitor
  • MFS-31614- Electric Wing

Recent Publications

  • J.W. Campbell, et al, STASAT, NASA TM

  • J.W. Campbell, et al, Laser Orbit Shaping For Asteroid, Meteoroids, And Comets, Laser Interaction with Materials, vol. TBD, no. TBD, 2003.

  • J.W. Campbell, et al, The Impact Imperative: Emerging Laser Technologies Enabling Future Earth Defense CONOPS In Space, published Papers of the College of Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education, Air University, Winter, 2003.

  • S. Nash-Stevenson and Julie Mills, editors (J.W. Campbell contributing author/mentor), The MSFC Undergraduate Student Research Program: Technical Report Collection 2002, NASA/MSFC, 2002.

  • J.W. Campbell, Book Review: Black Hawk Down, Aerospace Power Journal, Summer Edition 2002.

  • J.W. Campbell, et al, The Impact Imperative: Laser Ablation For Deflecting Asteroids, Meteoroids, And Comets From Impacting The Earth, published in proceedings of First International Symposium on Beamed Energy Propulsion, Nov.5, 2002.

  • J.W. Campbell, Laser Prevention of Earth Impact Disasters, IAF-01-C.2.09 published in the proceedings of the 53d International Astronautical Congress, World Space Congress, Houston, TX, Oct. 2002.

  • J.W. Campbell, STARSAT: A Joint NASA/AF Project For Laser Calibration of Small Objects In Space, April 2002, SPIE Volume 4760 (proceedings of the SPIE High-Power Laser Ablation Conference, session on Laser Propulsion and Micropropulsion) held in Taos, New Mexico, p821, April 2002).

  • J.W. Campbell, et al, Laser Calibration Experiment For Small Objects in Space, published in proceeding of the 2001 Core Technologies for Space Systems Conference, Colorado Springs, Fall, 2001.

  • J.W. Campbell, et al, Laser Solutions for Reducing the Environmental Risks Associated with Orbital Debris and Near Earth Objects, IAF-01-C.2.01, published in proceedings of the 52d International Astronautical Congress, World Space Congress, Toulouse, France, Oct. 2001.