Nans Kunz began his career at NASA Ames Research Center in 1978, as an engineer in the Research Equipment Engineering Branch. As part of the engineering directorate that provides engineering services to the other directorates at Ames, Mr. Kunz supported, led or had significant roles in dozens of projects that ranged in diversity from wind tunnel facilities to space flight hardware to large scale fuel spill fire test facilities, and involve research areas that include life sciences, astronomy, aero-dynamics, structures, materials, composites, instrumentation, thermal, and other topics. One of his design solutions for a flow through wind tunnel balance was awarded a patent. He has also been involved with or led accident or mishap investigations. A couple of the larger projects in which Mr. Kunz held significant roles include the National Full Scale Aerodynamic Complex (NFAC) modification project, and the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).
In particular for SOFIA, Mr. Kunz served as engineering lead during the early feasibility studies and when the project was approved as a new start development in 1995, he was selected as the Chief Engineer for this $90M per year international development. As Chief Engineer of this Program he led and directed teams and activities of multiple disciplines across multiple agencies including NASA's German partners, integrating these activities to derive the design solutions necessary to meet the program objectives. He served as Chief Engineer for the SOFIA Program from the beginning of development through completion of the first flight series in 2007.
After returning to the Engineering Directorate, Mr. Kunz has supported several projects and activities including leading a team as the capture manager to produce a SMEX proposal for a project called the Transiting Exo-planet Survey Satellite or (TESS) that won approval to proceed to phase A. Serving as the system engineer for the MSL-RSCS, Mr. Kunz developed and implemented the verification and validation plan for this Ames developed flight hardware. And just prior to joining the NESC team, Mr. Kunz was leading the Ames support efforts for the Advanced Composites Technology (ACT) Project that is studying composite alternatives for Ares V components.
In summary, Mr. Kunz has over 31 years of engineering experience at NASA, most as an Engineering Leader/Manager or Project Chief Engineer, and has been responsible for and contributed to the success of many important NASA projects and programs. He joined the NESC team as the NESC Chief Engineer at Ames in September 2009. Mr. Kunz has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University, and a Master of Science Degree from Stanford University also in Mechanical Engineering.