Mike Kirsch currently serves as the Deputy Director of the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC). He previously served as the Manager of the Management and Technical Support Office and as a Principal Engineer in the NESC. While a Principal Engineer, he led a number of NESC Independent Technical Assessments including an alternate design of the Orion Heat Shield Carrier Structure; a study of permeability through carbon graphite composites; a study of the electronic failures within the Toyota Electronic throttle control; design, build, and test of a full scale composite crew module; and alternate design of the Crew Exploration Vehicle through the Smart Buyer study.
Prior to joining the NESC, he was the Deputy Manager at White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) responsible for planning and directing developmental and operational tests of spacecraft propulsion systems and related subsystems. In preparing for the Deputy Manager position, Mr. Kirsch managed projects and test facilities across WSTF including oxygen hazards analysis and oxygen system and component testing for the International Space Station (ISS), Shuttle Program, and DOD assets. He also served as the Manager of the Hypervelocity Test Facility performing impact testing on a variety of materials for the ISS, SSP, and other spacecraft hardware. Prior to serving as the Deputy Manager, Mr. Kirsch participated in a rotational assignment within the Space Shuttle Program’s (SSP) Vehicle Engineering Office at Johnson Space Center where he was the Technical Assistant to the Manager.
He began his career at NASA’s White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) in 1989 while completing his degree in Mechanical Engineering from New Mexico State University.
Here’s what Mike Kirsch had to say about how the NESC keeps its focus on key technical risks.