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Clayton P. Turner, Director, NASA’s Langley Research Center

Clayton Turner is the Director of NASA’s Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia. He leads a diverse group of civil servant and contractor scientists, researchers, engineers and support staff, who work to make revolutionary improvements to aviation, expand understanding of Earth’s atmosphere, develop new technologies for space exploration, and contribute to NASA’s broader exploration mission.

Clayton Turner, director of NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia
Clayton Turner, director of NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia.
Credits: NASA

Turner has served the agency for more than 30 years. He has held several roles at NASA Langley, including systems engineer, Chief Engineer, Engineering Director, Associate Center Director, and Deputy Center Director.

After graduation from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in 1990, Turner began his career with NASA serving as a design engineer with the Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment project, where he spearheaded the development of the laser aligning, bore-sight limit system.

Throughout his career, he has worked on many projects for the Agency including the Earth Science Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation Project; the Earth-observing technology development Gas and Aerosol Monitoring Sensorcraft Project; the materials technology development Gas Permeable Polymer Materials Project; the Space Shuttle Program Return-to-Flight; the flight test of the Ares 1-X rocket; the flight test of the Orion Launch Abort System; and the entry, descent and landing segment of the Mars Science Laboratory.

Prior to joining NASA, Turner was the chief engineer at Dynamic Recording Studio in Rochester, New York, where he was responsible for technical and artistic recording of audio and video content spanning multiple musical and instructional styles.

Turner has received many prestigious awards such as the Presidential Rank Award, NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, the NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal, the Paul F. Holloway Non-Aerospace Technology Transfer Award, and RIT’s College of Engineering Distinguished Alumni award.

He is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and he is also a member of the RIT Board of Trustees.  

In recognition of his commitment to the engineering profession, contributions to the local community, and support of education Turner was inducted into the Monroe Community College Alumni Hall of Fame.

He previously served on the Virginia STEM Education Commission.

Turner lives in Hampton, Virginia, with his wife and has two sons. He is active in community outreach coaching youth sports and promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.