Dan Dumbacher Named Director of Engineering Directorate at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
News release: 07-061
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Dan Dumbacher has been named head of the Engineering Directorate at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. He replaces Michael Rudolphi who retired in March.
Dumbacher will lead an organization of 1,400 civil service and 1,200 support contractor employees responsible for the design, test, evaluation and operation of hardware and software associated with space transportation, spacecraft systems and science instruments, along with payloads under development at the Marshall Center. The Directorate also manages NASA's Payload Operations Center at Marshall – the command post for scientific research activities on board the International Space Station.
Since September 2005, Dumbacher has served as deputy manager of the Exploration Launch Projects Office, where he assisted in the overall project management of NASA’s Ares I crew launch vehicle and Ares V cargo launch vehicle. NASA’s Ares I is the launch vehicle slated to transport the Orion crew exploration vehicle to space. Ares V will serve as NASA’s primary vessel for delivering resources and the lunar lander to space. Together, the Ares I and V will provide the human space transportation capabilities that fulfill the nation’s strategic goals to return to the moon and one day explore Mars.
Previously, Dumbacher was deputy director for product assurance in the Safety and Mission Assurance Office at Marshall, focusing on efforts to return the space shuttle to flight. He also served from 2003 to 2004 as manager of Marshall’s X-37 Flight Demonstrator Project Office. The X-37 was an advanced technology flight demonstrator used to test and validate technologies in the space environment.
From 1994 to 2003, Dumbacher served in a variety of Marshall leadership positions related to advanced space transportation research and technology development.
His positions included manager of the Delta Clipper-Experimental Advanced Flight Vehicle Project, deputy manager of the X-33 Program, manager of the Structures, Mechanics and Thermal Department, manager of the Space Launch Initiative’s 2nd Generation Reusable Launch Vehicle Program, and deputy manager of the Orbital Space Plane Program.
Dumbacher has also served in positions of increasing responsibility in Marshall's Propulsion Laboratory, responsible for space shuttle main engine systems analysis; the Space Shuttle Main Engine Chief Engineers Office; the Space Shuttle Main Engine Project Office, where he served as assistant project manager; and at NASA Headquarters in Washington as the Space Shuttle Main Engine Program representative.
Dumbacher joined NASA in 1979 at the Marshall Center. During his career, he has received numerous awards and honors. In 2003, Dumbacher received Purdue University’s Outstanding Mechanical Engineer award. He received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in 2002 for noteworthy accomplishments related to NASA’s 2nd Generation Reusable Launch Vehicle Program, and in 1997 for his work on the Delta Clipper-Experimental Advanced Flight Vehicle Project, or DC-XA -- a single-stage-to orbit launch vehicle tested by NASA. He was honored in 1996 with a Marshall Director’s Commendation for accomplishing two flight tests within 26 hours in the DC-XA project flight test series.
Dumbacher, an Indianapolis native, attended Bishop Chatard High School and received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 1981. He received his master’s degree in administrative science from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1984. He completed the Senior Managers in Government study program in 2002 at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
Dumbacher, his wife Lee and two of their children, Dana and Brad, reside in Huntsville. Their daughter, Erin, a recent graduate of The George Washington University, resides in Washington.