Preston Carter

Preston Carter is an aerospace engineer with extensive experience in aerospace systems. His background is quite diverse, spanning over 30 years. He has experience in activities that include the development of advanced concepts, research and development, project management, hardware design, manufacture, test, operations and customer support. The majority of his experience has been in systems related to space vehicles, advanced aeronautical vehicles, high-speed flight, and propulsion. Mr. Carter came to NASA to become the director of Game Changing Technology from a small business in Bend Oregon engaged in the development of advance propulsions concepts. Mr. Carter is the inventor of two revolutionary engine technologies: Cart Engine, a constant volume combustion aerospace engine technology, and SECCO2, an external combustion shaft power engine utilizing supercritical carbon dioxide. Mr. Carter was formerly the Director of Defense Programs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and was a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for many years as a leader in high-speed flight and space assess. He has been involved in many projects that have flown payloads upon the Space Shuttle, other spacecraft, and high-altitude airplanes. Mr. Carter was a co-founder of the NASA Lunar Prospector mission which completed a successful mission about the moon and which confirmed that there are water ice deposits near the poles of the moon. In addition, Mr. Carter was one of the principal engineers for the DoD / NASA Clementine lunar mission of 1994 which was America’s first return to the moon since the Apollo program. Mr. Carter is also the inventor of the innovative concept for hypersonic flight and space access called HyperSoar which has received wide ranging interest and study. In his early career, Mr. Carter contributed to the ascent mission planning of the Space Shuttle from STS-3 through STS-15, with particular emphasis upon range safety and deposal of the External Tank and Solid Rocket Boosters from both the Eastern and Western Test Ranges. After graduate school at the University of Texas, in Austin, Mr. Carter contributed to the early planning of the International Space Station and was a member of a joint JSC and JPL team to study Mars Rover Sample Return and related missions. On this team, Mr. Carter was the team leader for the entry, descent, and landing concept development and analysis. Mr. Carter joined Max Faget, CC Johnson, Joe Allen, and other early manned space pioneers at Space Industries, Inc. in 1989. He was SII’s leader of microgravity hardware development in support of numerous Shuttle middeck experiments including the protein crystal growth experiments performed by Dr. Lawrence J. Delucas aboard United States Microgravity Laboratory-1 (USML-1) Spacelab mission on STS-50. Mr. Carter was the program manager and contributing engineer for SII’s PCF, TES and CRIM facilities which have flown on numerous flights. Preston Carter received his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in aeronautics and astronautical engineering. Mr. Carter’s engineering roots and experiences started early. His father worked for the Boeing Company and their family moved extensively around the country in support of the Apollo program’s Saturn S1C stage, SST, and the early development of the 747. Mr. Carter worked his way through college working for the K2 downhill racing team, developing advanced technology for high performance snow skis. Before joining the Space Shuttle program, Mr. Carter worked at the Naval Weapons Center in China Lake, California working on aircraft survivability, solid rocket motor development, and flight testing of the A-6 and A-7 in support of the fleet.
Preston Carter
Director, NASA's Gamechanging Technologies Division