Michelle Munk | NASA’s Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) Systems Capability Leader & Principal Technologist for EDL Technologies, NASA STMD


Ms. Michelle Munk has served as NASA’s Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) Systems Capability Leader since May 2017, and the Principal Technologist for EDL technologies within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) since 2013. On detail to NASA Headquarters, Ms. Munk is responsible for ensuring sustainment of NASA’s EDL skills, facilities, and tools, as well as guiding STMD’s technical content in EDL, including decelerator, heatshield, precision landing, ground and flight test, modeling, and instrumentation efforts. In this role, she coordinates closely across all STMD programs and technology readiness levels, including commercial and academic activities, as well as with robotic and human exploration planning and formulation efforts. Ms. Munk possesses broad experience in orbital mechanics, trajectory simulation, and technology development from three different NASA centers over her 30-year career. Her past work includes nine years as the Lead Engineer and Project Manager for the In-Space Propulsion Technology (ISPT) Aerocapture project, and subsystem lead and Deputy Project Manager for the Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent and Landing Instrumentation (MEDLI) flight payload. Ms. Munk holds a B. S. in Aerospace Engineering from Virginia Tech. She was selected for the 2019 AIAA Associate Fellow class, participates in international EDL efforts, and has several publications and NASA group and individual achievement awards, including the Space Flight Awareness Award and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.

2Sara Knudsen