Director of Aeronautics
Ms. Tran, as the Director of Aeronautics (2015-Present) and Deputy Director of Aeronautics (2010-2015) at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center (ARC), provides technical and management oversight of research disciplines in air traffic management, airspace simulation and operations, autonomous systems, computational fluid dynamics analysis, vertical flight vehicle technology, experimental fluid mechanics, and wind tunnel operations. She ensures the safe operations of the world’s largest wind tunnels and Vertical Motion Simulator. She has also served as the Aeronautics Research Director representing NASA Ames at the Aeronautics Mission Directorate. She works closely with the office of the Associate Administrator and its program directors to develop strategic plans and directions for Aeronautics, including several critical initiatives such as Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) and Airspace Technology Demonstration (ATD), Low Boom Flight Demonstrator (X-59), and other transformational projects. Ms. Tran is the lead inventor of the Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator (PICA) heat shield material that enabled two sample return missions, three mars missions and currently used as the primary heatshield for Space-X Dragon capsules. Ms. Tran earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering from San Jose State University.