Dr. Gilbrech began his career with NASA at the Stennis Space Center (SSC) in 1991 starting in Propulsion Test Technology. He next served as project manager for a liquid hydrogen foil bearing turbopump test program.
In 1995, he was selected as the SSC X-30 National Aerospace Plane project manager responsible for construction, activation and operation of a facility to test actively-cooled structures.
Later that year, he was selected as the X-33 Project Manager, converting the A-1 test stand at SSC from Space Shuttle Main Engine testing to Linear Aerospike turbopump, single and dual engine testing.
Gilbrech served as chief of the Propulsion Test Engineering Directorate from 1998 to 2000 when he left Stennis for a six-month detail at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) as technical assistant to the Space Shuttle Program Manager. After returning to Stennis, Gilbrech was named Deputy Director of Propulsion Testing.
In 2003, Gilbrech became Manager of the Program Integration Office responsible for managing NASA’s rocket propulsion test facilities located at SSC, Marshall Space Flight Center, JSC’s White Sands Test Facility and Glenn Research Center’s Plumbrook Station.
In late 2003, he relocated to Langley Research Center to become a Principal Engineer in the NASA Engineering and Safety Center.
Dr. Gilbrech received a B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering from Mississippi State University followed by a M.S. and Ph.D. in Aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology.