Prior to joining the staff at Taksha Institute as Advisor to the Taksha Institute for Science and Technology (TIST), Dr. Ajay Kumar served as the Director, Systems Analysis and Concepts Directorate (SACD) at NASA Langley from 2004 to 2012. The Directorate conducts studies for NASA decision makers and programs to provide aerospace systems analysis products such as planetary exploration mission architectures, advanced systems concepts, systems and technology trades and life cycle, cost, and risk analysis, as well as pre-decisional sensitive information to enable informed technical, programmatic, and budgetary decisions. During this period, he also served as the Acting Director, Engineering Directorate from Feb 2009 to April 2010. Prior to that (1998-2004), he served as the Director, Aerodynamics, Aerothermodynamics, and Acoustics Directorate, where he directed theoretical, computational and experimental research and technology development in Aerodynamics, Aerothermodynamics, Acoustics, Hypersonic Airbreathing Propulsion, and testing technology for aerospace applications. The Directorate managed and operated all Center wind tunnels except two.
Dr. Kumar began his NASA career in 1981 as an aerospace engineer in the field of hypersonic airbreathing propulsion. He came to NASA Langley in 1975 under a National Research Council Fellowship to develop computational tools for predicting aerothermal environment over earth and planetary entry systems. His personal research interests are in areas of computational fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, aerothermodynamics, and hypersonic airbreathing propulsion. Before joining NASA, Kumar taught at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India from 1973 to 1975.
Dr. Kumar received his Ph.D. in Aerodynamics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, in 1974, and a Master of Engineering Administration from George Washington University in 1984. He is the author or coauthor of some 130 technical publications and has co-edited 4 books on topics related to transition, turbulence, combustion, and advanced numerical algorithms. He served on the Editorial Advisory Board of the International Journal of Computers and Fluids, the Technical Advisory Committee of the European Hypersonic Database, and co-chaired two AGARD working groups (1997-2002) on hypersonics. He also served on the Advisory Board of the School of Engineering of the Old Dominion University and the Advisory Board of the Aeronautical Eng. Department of the Penn State University, and currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Aeronautical Eng. Department of the Cincinnati University.
Dr. Kumar has won many NASA and other awards, including the prestigious Gene Zara Award (1992) for his contributions to the National Aero-Space Plane Program, Best Paper Award (1987) from Applied Physics Laboratory on scramjet CFD, a NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (1992) for his contributions to the field of Computational Fluid Dynamics, NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal (2007 and 2012), and the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive (2007). He also received the Engineer Alumni Achievement Award from the George Washington University and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (1992) and a Distinguished Alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India.