Daniel C. Reda, Ph.D., ENG’65, GSNB’67, ’69 is a mechanical engineer who has made outstanding contributions to state-of-the-art reentry physics and aerodynamic measurement methodologies over his 44-year scientific career.
As senior research scientist at NASA-Ames Research Center, Reda received their highest form of recognition, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, joining the ranks of notable astronauts John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, and Edwin Aldrin. He was awarded four U.S. patents on aerodynamic measurement techniques and has fundamentally advanced the understanding of roughness-induced transition in the re-entry of spacecrafts into planetary atmospheres. He has also pioneered innovative new research methodologies in his field. Among his many accomplishments at NASA, his work was integral to the success of the billion-dollar Galileo mission to Jupiter.
A three-time graduate of Rutgers University, Reda earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering in 1965 from the Rutgers School of Engineering, a master of science degree for teachers in mechanical engineering from the Rutgers Graduate School of New Brunswick in 1967, and a doctor of philosophy degree in mechanical engineering also from the Graduate School of New Brunswick in 1969. Reda began his career as an aerothermodynamics engineer for Convair Division of General Dynamics from 1969 to 1970, and went on to serve as postdoctoral fellow for the National Research Council at NASA-Ames Research Center from 1970 to 1972, as research scientist for the U.S. Naval Ordinance Laboratory from 1972 to 1978, and as a senior member of technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories from 1978 to 1990.
In addition to the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Reda has received the NASA Space Act Award, was awarded the distinction of fellow by the American Institute of Aeronautics and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, was elected the Ames Associate Fellow for sustained innovative and creative contributions to transition research, and was selected as a finalist for the 1995 NASA Inventor-of-the-Year competition.
An internationally recognized authority in his field, Reda has published more than 100 scientific papers and has been invited to lecture at prestigious institutions across the globe, including the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics in Belgium, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, and Columbia University Geologic Observatory.