Troy A. Asher is the director for Flight Operations at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. He is responsible for managing the center’s 300-person flight research operation of pilots, maintainers, and engineers, as well as a fleet of 25 highly modified manned and unmanned aircraft of 11 different types that are flown on worldwide aeronautical, science and astronomy flight research missions.
Asher joined the Armstrong flight operations staff in 2008 as a research test pilot and aerospace engineer. This followed a 24-year career as a U.S. Air Force officer and test pilot, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
As a research pilot, Asher conducts flight test and airborne research on various aircraft, including the F-15, F/A-18, Gulfstream III, T-34 and X-56A unmanned aircraft system. He was the lead test pilot for the development of NASA’s 747SP Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) and has flown extensive flight test and scientific research missions in NASA’s DC-8. He has flown science and support missions to the North Pole, Antarctica, New Zealand, Japan, Russia, Europe and Central and South America, and he has supported numerous other projects as a safety and photo chase pilot.
During his military career, Asher served as an instructor at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona and at the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, which he also attended as a member of Class 98B. He was the commander of the 419th Flight Test Squadron and director of the Bomber Combined Test Force at Edwards and was a program manager and chief of low observables at the B-2A System Program Office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. In 2003, he set 25 world speed records in the B-1B.
Asher is a 1988 Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with a bachelor’s degree in astronautical engineering. Asher received a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2003 from Fresno State University, California, where he graduated with honors and was awarded the Dean’s Medal.
Asher is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, and his honors include the Meritorious Service Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award and Antarctic Service Medal.