David Urban, Chief, Low-Gravity Exploration Technology Branch, NASA GRC

Since 1991 Dr. Urban has worked in microgravity combustion science at the NASA Glenn Research Center becoming the Branch Chief in 1997. Currently he is the Chief of the Low-Gravity Exploration Technology Branch which includes over 20 civil servants and a dozen contractor employees. Prior to NASA, he held a postdoctoral position at Princeton University having completed his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley in 1987. His area of specialty is combustion research and spacecraft fire safety. His responsibilities have included managing and leading NASA’s flight and ground-based microgravity combustion research program; collaborating in the definition of NASA’s spacecraft fire safety research plan; and supervising researchers in spacecraft fire safety and reacting processes in reduced gravity. He has been the project scientist for several space flight experiments and the Principal Investigator for 3 space flight combustion experiments. He is currently the Principal Investigator for the Spacecraft Fire Safety Demonstration Project (Saffire) which is an entirely novel experiment in that it makes use of unmanned cargo vehicles as an experimental platform for hazardous experiments. He has published numerous papers in the areas of soot processes and flame structure in low gravity; material flammability; fire detection; soot and spacecraft fire safety.