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Portrait of Armstrong chief engineer Cynthia Bixby

Cynthia J. Bixby

Armstrong Chief Engineer

Cynthia J. “CJ” Bixby is the chief engineer at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. Appointed to this position in October 2020, she provides independent technical guidance and oversight to Armstrong flight projects and programs to ensure conformance with center and agency standards, policies and processes.

In addition, as chair of the Airworthiness and Flight Safety Review Board, she determines and provides the appropriate level of independent technical review for each project prior to flight.


Bixby was the deputy director for the Research and Engineering Directorate at NASA Armstrong from February 2019 until her current position.  Previously, she served as the chief of the Systems Engineering and Integration (SE&I) Branch. Prior to becoming chief of the SE&I Branch, she was chief of the Flight Systems Branch.

She began her career at Lockheed Martin where she participated in integrating aircraft systems in preparation for flight and planned and executed developmental and experimental flight tests on several aircraft.

Bixby came to NASA Armstrong as a contractor in 2002, working as a flight system engineer on C-17 REFLECS and ACCESS 5 projects. She began her federal career at NASA Armstrong in 2006, participating in systems engineering efforts on Orion Pad Abort testing, Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration in the National Airspace System and Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge flight experiment.

Education and Honors

Bixby holds a Bachelor of Science in physics from University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. She is the recipient of a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal.