Robert R. Meyer Jr.
Program Manager, SOFIA Prior to his retirement in February 2012, Robert R. Meyer Jr. served NASA for 40 years as an aerospace and flight test engineer, project and program manager, and in upper-level management roles at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.
Meyer's final role was as program manager of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, from 2006 through early 2012. Meyer was responsible for overall development and preparation for operational service of the observatory, which features a German-built 2.5-meter infrared telescope mounted in a highly modified Boeing 747SP aircraft.
Prior to his appointment as SOFIA program manager, Meyer was Associate Director for Programs from 2004 through 2006, responsible for implementing current program activity, planning and advocacy for future research activity at Dryden.
He previously held the positions of acting Deputy Center Director, Director of Aerospace Projects, Director of Research Engineering, Assistant Director of New Program Development, assistant for Plans and Programs, and as Research Engineering Aerodynamics Branch chief.
Earlier, Meyer was chief engineer on the F-18 High Alpha Research Vehicle (HARV) project. This project produced technical data to validate computer codes and wind tunnel research to help improve maneuverability of future aircraft.
He also was involved with aerodynamic loads tests on the space shuttle thermal protective tile system, development of a real-time cockpit trajectory guidance system, and studies of laminar (smooth) air flow involving F-111, F-14, and F-15 aircraft.
As a flight test engineer at Dryden, Meyer flew on F-104, F-4, F-14, F-18, and T-38 aircraft in support of various research projects. Meyer was one of two flight test engineers who flew in the SR-71 high-speed, high-altitude flight research program.
Meyer first came to NASA Dryden in 1972 as a cooperative education student from Purdue University, and joined NASA full time in 1975 following his graduation with a Bachelor of Science in aeronautics and astronautics engineering. Among his student projects were aerodynamic drag reduction studies on ground vehicles.
From 1976 to 1978 Meyer was on a two-year assignment at NASA's Langley Research Center as a transonic wind tunnel test engineer. Meyer carried out wind tunnel investigations of winglets and the Citation III business aircraft under the supervision of famed Langley aerospace engineer Richard Whitcomb.
Meyer is the author more than two dozen reports and professional papers on a variety of aeronautical research projects and subjects.
As a hobby, Meyer designs, builds, and flies competition aerobatic aircraft and restores classic aircraft and cars. He was a member of the U.S. Aerobatic Team that represented the United States in the biennial World Aerobatic Championships in Hungary in 1994.