NASA Names New Deputy Director for Glenn Research Center

Press Release From: NASA HQ
Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2003

NASA announced today Richard S. Christiansen is the new Deputy Director for the agency's Glenn Research Center (GRC), Cleveland, effective Nov. 16. Christiansen has been the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) Associate Director for Planning since January 2001.

"Rich will be a terrific addition to the Glenn management team," said Fred Gregory, NASA's Deputy Administrator. "He will help us sharpen the cutting edge of technology, strengthen old alliances and develop new ones. He is a highly qualified NASA veteran familiar, with our many research projects, management and resource allocation," Gregory added.

Dr. Julian Earls, Director, Glenn Research Center, said, "I am thrilled Rich agreed to come to GRC, and I look forward to a close working relationship with him. His reputation, experience, and strong technical and management background will enhance our microgravity, propulsion, communications and technology research and development programs."

Prior to his assignment to DFRC, Christiansen served as NASA's Aerospace Technology Enterprise director of programs from Oct. 11, 1998 to June 30, 2000. He was responsible for strategic management of all Enterprise programs, planned and conducted for national and agency goals in aeronautics and space transportation. He has served as a division director or program manager in several organizations since his arrival at NASA Headquarters in 1986. From 1997 to 1998, he served as acting associate administrator of the Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology Enterprise, for which he received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 1999.

"I have worked with many people at Glenn in the past with great success, so I am truly excited about working with all the Glenn team. I am eager to hear all their ideas and to work with Julian to incorporate them into our overall mission. I expect to spend a lot of time out of the office talking to people and building good relationships," Christiansen said.

Christiansen's past experiences will assist him in his new role. He has extensive NASA headquarters and field center program-management experience in the formulation, advocacy and assessment of basic and focused research and technology programs. He has worked on programs spanning the gamut of research and development from fundamental materials research to flight demonstrations of advanced systems. His experience covers the entire aerospace flight regime from low-speed general aviation to reusable launch systems for low-cost access to space.

In 1980, he worked for NASA's Ames Research Center and was responsible for conducting systems analysis and large-scale aerodynamic and propulsion wind-tunnel tests of subsonic vertical or short take-off and landing concepts. In 1985, Christiansen went to NASA Headquarters on a developmental assignment as program manager for the United States and United Kingdom advanced short take-off and vertical landing program and several flight research programs.

He began his aerospace career in 1978 with General Dynamics, while in his senior year at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Calif. While there, he conducted wind tunnel tests and analysis on various missile designs for the U.S. Navy. Following graduation, he was a part-time lecturer for aerospace engineering classes at Cal Poly.

Since becoming a member of the Senior Executive Service in 1994, he earned the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive in 1998 and again in 2003 for his sustained superior accomplishments in program management.

Christiansen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering in 1979 from California State Polytechnic University and a Master of Science degree in aeronautics and astronautics in 1985 from Stanford University.

For more information about NASA and the Glenn Research Center on the Internet, visit:

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