Dr. Eugene L. Tu is the center director at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, where he leads a staff of civil servants and contractors in providing critical research and development support that makes the aeronautics and space missions of NASA and the nation possible.
Tu was most recently director of Exploration Technology at Ames, a position he held from November 2005 until his selection as Ames center director in May 2015. There he led four technology research and development divisions, including two of NASA’s critical infrastructure assets: the consolidated arc jet testing complex and the agency’s primary supercomputing facility.
Tu began his career as a research scientist conducting computational fluid dynamics research on the steady and unsteady aerodynamics of complex aircraft configurations. After progressing through various research and managerial positions in such fields as computational aerodynamics, information technology, or IT, and high performance computing and communications, he was selected as the deputy program manager for the agency’s IT Base Research program in 1997. In 1998, he was selected as the program manager for the agency-level High Performance Computing and Communications, or HPCC, program and concurrently led both the IT Base Research and HPCC programs. In 2001, the two programs were combined into the Computing, Information, and Communication Technology, or CICT, program and Tu was selected as the CICT program manager. In 2002, he was selected into the Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program, SESCDP, and served in the Office of Biological and Physical Research at NASA Headquarters in 2003, and as the acting director for the Information Sciences and Technology Directorate at Ames in 2004. After receiving his SES certification in 2005, he was selected as the director of Exploration Technology at Ames.
Tu earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1988, and both his master’s degree and doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University in 1990 and 1996, respectively. He is an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Tu received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2000, and the Presidential Rank Awards for Meritorious Executive and Distinguished Executive in 2009 and 2020, respectively. Tu lives in Fremont, California, with his wife Kathy and three children. His hobbies include attending sporting events, traveling, and motorsports.