Director of NASA Space Technology Programs to Visit Engineering School

October 01, 2012

Michael Gazarik, director of NASA’s Space Technology Programs, will visit the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science on Tuesday to discuss NASA priorities and programs and tour several labs.

He will also meet with engineering students in Robert Kelly’s aerospace materials class after a tour of the Aerospace Research Lab, and with Jesse Quinlan, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering who is one of 80 fellows in the inaugural class of the NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship program. 

Also on his itinerary are the Wireless Health Lab in Rice Hall and the Bio Inspired Engineering Research Lab, home of the robotic manta ray developed by Hilary Bart-Smith and her collaborators. His last stop will be the Rapid Prototyping Lab, where engineers create and test new products with computers and 3D printers.

Pamela Norris, associate dean and a professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering, said the visit is a great opportunity for faculty and students interested in the future of U.S. space technology programs. 

“We also hope that Dr. Gazarik's visit will help inform him about the exciting research being conducted at U.Va. in areas both directly related to the NASA mission, such as the NASA-funded National Center for Hypersonic Combined Cycle Propulsion, as well as those less directly applicable, yet with important contributions to make to the overall mission.”

Gazarik has more than 25 years of experience in the design, development and deployment of spaceflight systems. He previously served as deputy chief technologist at NASA headquarters, as deputy director of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, and as project manager for the Geosynchronous Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory. He has also worked in the private sector on software and firmware development for commercial and government applications.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and his master’s and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has received numerous awards, including NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2007 and the Silver Snoopy Award, one of the agency’s highest honors, in 2006. He has authored or co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed publications.