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Director, NIAC


Since February 1998, Dr. Cassanova is the Director of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to becoming the Director of NIAC, Dr. Cassanova was Director of the Aerospace and Transportation Laboratory in the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). The lab performed research in aeronautics, ground transportation, acoustics, materials and structures for the Department of Defense agencies, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Highway Administration, Georgia Department of Transportation, Department of Energy and private industry.

Over the course of the NIAC contract, Dr. Cassanova has participated in numerous advisory and steering committees at the invitation of NASA, given keynote addresses at technical society meetings, presented invited seminars at universities and annually briefs NASA Associate Administrators and Center Directors on the status of NIAC. He also has given numerous national and international interviews with radio, television and written publication reporters.

While in GTRI and in the School of Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech, he performed research in biofluid mechanics, solar thermal energy, acoustics, combustion and rarefied gas dynamics. He retired from Georgia Tech in 1998 and holds the title of Principal Research Engineer Emeritus from Georgia Tech. His career also includes research in high altitude rocket plumes and high altitude hypersonic flight at the Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tullahoma, Tennessee.

Dr. Cassanova is the recipient of the NASA Public Service Medal for exceptional contributions to the Mission of NASA. NIAC and NIAC sponsored advanced concepts have received numerous accolades in the technical and popular press. The NIAC team, including members from USRA, ANSER Corporation and NASA are recipients of the NASA Group Achievement Award.

  • B.S. North Carolina State University, Aerospace Engineering 1964
  • M.S. University of Tennessee Space Institute, Aerospace Engineering 1967
  • Ph.D. Georgia Institute of Technology, Aerospace Engineering 1975

Dr. Cassanova has over 50 publications in referred technical journals and proceedings of technical meetings.


American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Member of Space Colonization Committee), American Astronautical Society, American Association for Advancement of Science and the American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology.