An Introduction to NASA Ames Research Center

Dean Kontinos, PhD – Center Chief Engineer, NASA Ames Research Center


Prior to joining the NESC, Dr. Dean Kontinos was Chief of the Reacting Flow Environments Branch at Ames Research Center. In this capacity, he performed a mix of technical analysis and management of activities in the field of aerothermodynamics and thermal protection of hypervelocity vehicles. Technical areas of experience are aerothermal environment prediction, arc-jet modeling and characterization, ballistic range testing, design tools for planetary entry vehicles, and thermal protection system response. Recent activities include aerothermal analysis for Columbia accident investigation, Aerocapture In-Space Propulsion, Huygens/Cassini entry probe, Stardust, and Shuttle Orbiter Return to Flight. Dr. Kontinos has been associated with NASA Since 1989 when he started as a summer graduate student intern at Ames Research Center. After finishing his class work, he completed his research in computational fluid dynamic algorithm development in the Computational Aerosciences Branch at Ames. He then accepted a National Research Council post-doctoral associateship at Ames where he developed a boundary element method for modeling of coupled fluid dynamic convective heating and internal heat conduction. Dr. Kontinos was then hired by ELORET Corp. as an on-site contractor. He worked on the X-33 program performing aerothermal analysis including investigation of metallic thermal protection panel bowing. He also served as task manager for the ELORET contract in the Reacting Flow Environments Branch. Dr. Kontinos was hired by NASA in March 2001 and became Chief in July of that year.

Dr. Kontinos received a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Florida in 1988, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from North Carolina State University in 1991 and 1994, respectively. Dr. Kontinos is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is a recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.