Tim Dunn is the NASA senior launch director for the Launch Services Program (LSP) at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He is responsible for planning, implementing and directing launch campaigns and countdowns of science and robotic spacecraft for NASA-managed launch vehicle services.
Dunn began his career as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1987. He was a Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite analysis officer analyzing and updating the satellite navigation data at the GPS Master Control Station in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 1993, he became a Titan IV Air Force launch controller (AFLC) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida. As AFLC, he directed all spacecraft mission planning and launch campaign activities. He served on launch teams successfully launching eight Titan IV missions in a three-year period.
From 1996 to 2000, Dunn worked for The Boeing Company as an avionics engineer at CCAFS. He was a launch-day guidance engineer and performed guidance testing for 48 Delta II and Delta III rockets. He worked on crews launching USAF, NASA, and commercial spacecraft, notably the Mars Pathfinder, Stardust, Iridium, Globalstar, and numerous GPS missions.
In 2000, Dunn joined NASA and the Launch Services Program as a Delta II avionics and flight controls engineer. His precise monitoring ensured 100 percent mission success for 10 NASA missions in a three-year period, most notably Genesis, Aqua, Mars Exploration Rovers A and B, and the Space InfraRed Telescope Facility. In 2003, he became the NASA Delta II vehicle systems engineer. He led NASA’s Delta II launch team in assuring technical flight readiness for 17 high-profile NASA missions, including the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft, Deep Impact, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-N (NOAA-N), Dawn, and Kepler.
From 1996 to 2007, in addition to his full-time job, Dunn served in the Florida Air National Guard as a range operations commander and flight commander during Eastern Range (ER) launches. He led the 22-member unit operating the ER’s mobile telemetry system.
In 2009, Dunn became LSP’s certification manager. He led the multi-disciplined technical team planning LSP’s vehicle certification for NASA’s next generation of rockets. He authored the Certification Implementation Strategy and developed the process for contractors to present vehicle qualification data. In 2011, Dunn was selected to be LSP’s launch director and has led the NASA launch team in numerous successful missions, notably Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory; Jason-3; Origins, Spectral, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx); Mars InSight lander; Solar Orbiter; Landsat-9; and Surface Water and Ocean Topography.
Dunn has received USAF, Boeing, and NASA individual performance and group achievement awards for his work on over 125 missions launched from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, and Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
Dunn was born and raised in Arab, Alabama. He earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering in 1986 from the University of Alabama and a Master of Science in space operations from the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) in Dayton, Ohio, in 1992.
Dunn and his wife, Julie, live in Merritt Island, Florida. Their adult children live and work in Raleigh, North Carolina and Madison, Wisconsin. He enjoys golfing, bike riding, hiking, involvement in his church, and cheering for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Biography last updated April 2023