Principal Technologist: Ron Litchford

Ron Litchford
Principal Technologist, Game Changing Development Program
Office of the Chief Technologist
256-698-1934 (c)

B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Tennessee Technological University (1987)
M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Tennessee Space Institute (1989)
Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering, University of Tennessee Space Institute (1992)

Dr. Litchford’s professional interests and experiences broadly encompass energetic aerospace propulsion and power systems and advanced energy applications.  This includes 2 years (1987-1989) as a NASA Graduate Research Fellow; 5 years (1989-1994) as a Research Engineer with the UT-Calspan Center for Space Transportation and Applied Research, a NASA Center for the Commercial Development of Space; 5 years (1994-1999) as a Project Manager for ERC Inc., an aerospace engineering and research service company; and 13 years (1999-2012) within NASA devoted to the research and advancement of revolutionary space propulsion and power technologies.  Dr. Litchford is currently an AIAA Associate Fellow, Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of the AIAA Plasmadynamics and Lasers Technical Committee, and a member of the International Liaison Group for MHD and High Temperature Technologies.  He has previously served on the AIAA Nuclear and Future Flight Technical Committee as well as the AIAA Propellants and Combustion Technical Committee, and held Adjunct Professor appointments at the University of Tennessee Space Institute and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Current Interests/focus:
Primary technical interest/focus is on advanced propulsion and vehicle systems for flight, high-speed suborbital transport, earth-to-orbit launch, deep-space transportation, and planetary descent/ascent.

Future Plans:
Future efforts will remain primarily directed at the advancement of aerospace technologies and vehicle systems solutions that will dramatically enhance flight capabilities and support a vigorous deep-space science and exploration agenda.  The challenges ahead are extremely daunting and there is growing recognition that overcoming the associated technical obstacles will require a sustained R&D initiative with a thematic concentration on revolutionary increases in propulsion & power system energetics.