Dr. Allison Zuniga

Dr. Allison Zuniga

Project Development Manager for Cis-Lunar Space at the NASA Ames Space Portal Office

Dr. Allison Zuniga serves as the Project Development Manager for Cis-Lunar Space at the NASA Ames Space Portal Office. She has worked for NASA for over 25 years as an aerospace engineer and project manager. She has held positions at NASA Headquarters, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Johnson Space Center and NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Syracuse University; a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from USC; and a Doctor of Engineering degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University. She has publications in aerodynamics, space vehicle design, control system optimization, systems engineering, integrated vehicle health management and commercial space partnerships.

Recently, Dr. Zuniga was on temporary duty assignment to NASA HQ from 2011 through 2014. She served as Lead Systems Engineer for Technical Performance, Requirements and Concept of Operations teams for Exploration’s Space Launch System and Orion space vehicle in HEOMD’s Exploration Systems Development Division. While at NASA HQ, she also served as Program Engineer for the NASA Administrator’s Office of Strategy Formulation where she developed strategic plans and reviews for Agency leadership.

From 2008-11, Dr. Zuniga served as Deputy Systems Engineer for Ames Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission. In this leadership role, she provided technical oversight for development of the requirements, system design and integration of spacecraft with 4 instruments. LADEE mission was successful in reaching the moon in late 2013 and accomplished all its mission objectives.

During 2005-06, Dr. Zuniga served as Deputy Manager for the NASA HQ formulation team that developed the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. Together with the Program Manager, she defined the program plan, acquisition strategy, budget, schedule and technical requirements for the COTS program. During the implementation phase, she served as Lead Systems Engineer in the COTS program office at NASA JSC and contributed to development of the solicitation and requirements; evaluation of proposals and recommendations for selection on contractor awards for COTS. As a result of these awards, two new launch vehicles and spacecraft were developed and placed in operational service to deliver cargo to ISS including SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft and Orbital’s Antares and Cygnus spacecraft.

During her tenure at NASA Ames, Dr. Zuniga has also served as project manager, system engineer and aerospace engineer on several other programs and projects including: Space Shuttle Orbiter re-entry team, Second Generation Reusable Launch Vehicle Program, Constellation Program Systems Engineering and Integration team, Ares V Project, Exploration Precursor Robotic Missions, Glory Mission, Small Explorer Mission, Crew Exploration Vehicle Program, Orbital Space Plane Program, High-Speed Civil Transport Program, X-37 Integrated Vehicle Health Management Project and HL-20 vehicle design and control system development teams.