Two Veteran Engineers Named to Management Posts at NASA Dryden
Two long-time aerospace engineers and managers at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center have been appointed to oversee the center's efforts in conducting airborne science missions and aeronautical research.
Robert E. "Bob" Curry, until recently the director of NASA Dryden's Science Mission Directorate, has been named to the newly created position of Chief Scientist at the NASA field center. In his new role, Curry will perform strategic analysis and assist the center's senior management with development of strategic plans for all of the center's missions, emphasizing the center's future role in both aeronautics and science research.
Michael P. "Mike" Thomson, most recently the deputy director for Flight Operations at NASA Dryden, will replace Curry as director of the center's Science Mission Directorate, responsible for the day-to-day management of the center's Airborne Science Program.
A veteran of 32 years with NASA Dryden, Curry had served as the chief of the center's Science Mission Directorate for the past five years, managing a suite of unique and highly modified aircraft in support of the agency’s Earth Science mission. These aircraft, both manned and unmanned, support worldwide field campaigns devoted to a variety of environmental science issues, including tropical storm development, solid Earth deformation, ozone loss, and climate change research.
He had previously served as a mission manager for a number of airborne environmental science campaigns, and also served for six years as chief of the aerodynamics branch in the center's Research Engineering directorate, supporting a variety of flight research projects involving hypersonic air-breathing propulsion, advanced space transportation concepts, supersonic laminar flow and sonic boom characterization studies.
As deputy director of Flight Operations at NASA Dryden over the past six years, Thomson was responsible for assisting the directorate chief in planning, coordinating and directing engineering and technical support functions for the directorate's Flight Crew and Operations Engineering branches and the center's Aircraft Maintenance Division.
Thomson first came to NASA Dryden in 1989 as a senior software engineer developing test procedures for the flight control system for the X-29 aircraft. He then served as lead engineer for development of research flight control system software for the F-18 High Alpha Research Vehicle at NASA Dryden.
After accepting a civil service position at NASA Dryden in 1994, Thomson worked on a wide variety of flight research projects, including serving as chief engineer on the F-15 Advanced Control Technology for Integrated Vehicles project. He then served in a range of increasingly responsible engineering management posts, including assignments as deputy chief of the Flight Systems Branch of Dryden's Research Engineering Directorate, chief of the Operations Engineering branch in Flight Operations and as deputy director of the Research Engineering Directorate.
Thomson also flew in a variety of research aircraft as a flight test engineer, partnering with the test pilot in the planning, development, coordination and execution of research missions.
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