Michael “Mike” Ciannilli leads NASA’s Apollo, Challenger, Columbia Lessons Learned Program (ACCLLP). Ciannilli created this very innovative program in 2016 and is responsible for its leadership, along with innovatively and effectively sharing the invaluable lessons of NASA’s past to help ensure future success.
As the leader of this one-of-a-kind program, Ciannilli directs and develops a wide array of activities to innovatively and effectively share the agency’s lessons learned to help powerfully influence
NASA’s mission success across all programs and missions. Ciannilli also delivers this influence to numerous governmental, private, academic and international organizations through a diverse array of mediums and methods. This includes providing interactive multimedia and storytelling presentations both in virtual and in-person formats, developing multimedia productions, hosting lessons learned events, podcasting, public relations, literary projects, film production, and many others. In addition, this role involves leading poignant lessons learned tours of the Space Shuttle Columbia Preservation Room to all levels of organizations, from experienced senior leader executives to new interns just starting their careers. Ciannilli also works extensively with a wide array of media genres and outlets to powerfully share the unique message and positive influence of the ACCLLP.
Prior to his current role, Ciannilli was the lead of the Columbia Research and Preservation Office (CRPO), a position that is now encompassed into his new role. The CRPO has several responsibilities, including the preservation and protection of all Columbia artifacts, management of the Columbia artifact recovery office and execution of the artifact loan program, which loans out Columbia artifacts for research and academic purposes making it the only one of its kind in the world.
He also led the creation and development of the internationally recognized “Forever Remembered” exhibit located at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. “Forever Remembered” serves as the nation’s memorial to the fallen crews of the Space Shuttle Columbia and Space Shuttle Challenger tragedies.
Previously, Ciannilli served nine years as NASA test director for the Space Shuttle Program at the Kennedy. In this role, he was responsible for the processing oversight of the space shuttle orbiters and ground support systems, including launch and landing facilities. In addition, this leadership responsibility included leading the entire launch team through space shuttle launch countdown activities. He also served as the landing recovery director during that time, responsible for leading contingency operations during launch countdown and landing activities, including a potential emergency flight crew recovery. In 2003, during the Columbia accident recovery, Ciannilli flew extensively onboard helicopters across Texas supporting air search operations and Columbia artifact recovery.
Before joining NASA in 2005, Ciannilli was a contractor for the United Space Alliance, where he spent eight years as a test project engineer, leading the testing and engineering integration during processing and launch operations of the space shuttle and ground systems. During this time, he was assigned to the engineering leadership team of the Space Shuttle Columbia, which included responsibilities to brief the flight crew prior to launch. Prior to this, he was the lead of the Launch Countdown Simulation team, where he developed and led high-fidelity simulations to train the entire launch team. Additionally, as the simulation lead for the Mission Management team, he trained the leadership of the entire Space Shuttle Program. Before this role, Ciannilli worked as a fuel cell system engineer, responsible for the testing and checkout of the electrical power, water generation and payload support systems onboard the space shuttle orbiter. He also worked as an intern for Pan Am World Services at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base. Prior to starting his space program career, he worked in the academic world both as a high school teacher and as a private tutor.
Ciannilli has received numerous awards throughout his career, including a Silver Snoopy, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, Launch and Landing Leadership Award, Launch Countdown Simulation Contingency Leadership Award, Columbia Recovery Team Award, Employee of the Year Award, and a NASA Quest Outreach Award, among many others.
Ciannilli has a Bachelor of Science in space science from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida.
Ciannilli grew up in Syracuse, New York. He enjoys spending time with his family, surfing, boating, hiking, travel and film production.