Dr. Tu is currently the Director of Exploration Technology at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center and has held this position since November 2005. Dr. Tu leads approximately 300 civil servants and 400 contractors, with an annual budget of $150 million. The Exploration Technology Directorate at Ames has four technology research and development divisions, including two of NASA’s critical infrastructure assets: NASA’s primary Arc Jet testing facility and NASA’s primary supercomputing facility.
Dr. Tu began his career as a Research Scientist conducting computational fluid dynamics research on the steady and unsteady aerodynamics of complex aircraft configurations. After progressing through various research and managerial positions in such fields as computational aerodynamics, information technology (IT), and high performance computing and communications, he was selected as the Deputy Program Manager for the IT Base Research Program in 1997. He was later selected as the Program Manager for the High Performance Computing and Communications Program and Computing Information and Communications Technology, responsible for the overall strategic planning, execution, tracking, and reporting of these multi-million dollar programs. In 2001, he was selected as the Acting Director of the Information Sciences and Technology Directorate and served as the Acting Deputy Director of Exploration Technology for a year prior to his selection in his current position.
Dr. Tu earned his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley, and both his Master’s and Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University. Dr. Tu is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He completed the Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SES CDP) and was selected into the SES in 2005. Dr. Tu received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2000 and the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive in 2009. Dr. Tu lives in Fremont, CA with his wife and three children and his hobbies include music, sports and motorsports.