• September 12, 2016
  • 4:00 p.m.
  • 117A Surge Building
  • Dr. Frank Gern
  • Faculty Host: Dr. Kapania


The Vehicle Analysis Branch at NASA Langley performs systems analysis and detailed design assessments for hypersonic vehicles, launch vehicles, and planetary lander systems. The presentation will explain the significance of systems analysis for trade space exploration, technology development, and vehicle design and mission assessment and optimization. Different branch projects like hypersonic vehicle design, launch vehicle stage separation analysis, and Mars entry, descent, and landing are presented as showcase examples for branch activities and to explain the differences between systems analysis and systems engineering.


Dr. Frank Gern received his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Stuttgart in Germany.  He started his career in 1991 at the German Aerospace Center DLR, where he developed advanced ceramic matrix composite structures for engine components, re-entry vehicles, and thrust vector controls.  From 1996 to 2001, he was a post-doctoral fellow and assistant professor at Virginia Tech, working in the areas of aircraft design, aeroelasticity, and innovative actuation concepts for morphing wings. 

In 2001, Frank joined Avionics Specialties, Inc. in Charlottesville, Virginia as Manager, New Product Development, and contributed to several major aircraft development programs like the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter), F-16 Block 60, and Airbus A350XWB.  From 2008 to 2010, he was a Technical Specialist for Loads and Dynamics at the Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation in Savannah, Georgia, where he developed transonic aeroservoelastic tools and airframe vibration analysis methods for the Gulfstream G650 flutter analysis, flight testing, and certification. 

In February 2010, he joined the Aeronautics Systems Analysis Branch (ASAB) in the Systems Analysis and Concepts Directorate (SACD) at NASA Langley. As a member of the Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) Team, Frank developed increased fidelity structural and aeroservoelastic analysis and optimization tools for Hybrid Wing Body and other innovative aircraft designs. In 2013/14, Frank was ASAB’s Acting Assistant Branch Head and in July 2015, he became the Assistant Branch Head for SACD’s Vehicle Analysis Branch.