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Curtis Larsen

Professor of Professional Practice Direct: 817.257.4866
BS University of North Dakota Civil Engineering MS University of North Dakota Civil Engineering PHD Rice University Civil Engineering

Dr. Larsen began his technical career at KBM Engineering in 1980 following his BSCE from the University of North Dakota (UND). In 1982 he earned a Master of Engineering (Soils/Structures) from UND and started work on his PhD at Rice University as an Exxon Teaching Fellow in the Civil Engineering Department. He joined the NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Loads and Dynamics Branch, in 1985 while continuing his research at Rice, defending his thesis in stochastic fatigue analysis in December 1987.  His primary assignments at NASA were in the return-to-flight of the Space Shuttle following the Challenger accident, and in the international coordination of loads and dynamics analysis and structural design for the Space Station Freedom.

In the 1990’s he designed and analyzed deep water structures in the advanced development group of Hudson Engineering (McDermott International), lead the engineering analysis group in the reliability department for Loral Space Systems, coordinated the structural design of the International Space Station for Boeing North American as the structures liaison between the International Space Station Program and the Space Shuttle Program, and was a lead Space Shuttle integration engineer at United Space Alliance for loads and dynamics, aerodynamics, and system safety.

In 2001 Curt returned to NASA JSC as a technical integration lead for the Space Shuttle vehicle and cargo structures, loads and dynamics.  Following the Columbia accident, he was assigned as the technical discipline manager for Space Shuttle cargo structures overseeing the loads and structural integration of the International Space Station cargo elements and other payloads into the Space Shuttle.

In 2005 he was selected to join the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) ( as the NASA Technical Fellow for Loads and Dynamics, leading a nationwide team of experts working to solve NASA’s most difficult issues in aeronautics and space flight.  He lead or participated in NESC assessments from the Pluto New Horizons spacecraft to the Orion, CST-100 Starliner and Dragon spacecraft, and the Space Launch System.  During this time he taught at Rice University, George Washington University, and across NASA through the NESC Academy (

Curt retired from NASA in August 2017 and joined the TCU Department of Engineering, teaching in control systems, experimental structural mechanics, and structural dynamics.

Curt is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas, an Associate Fellow of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, a member of the American Society for Engineering Education and Sigma Xi.

Research Interests

  • Structural Dynamics
  • Stochastic Fatigue
  • Experimental Mechanics