John Klineberg was a very strong student at Scarsdale High School, and his classmates recognized his academic success by voting him “Best Looking.” Four years at Princeton, where he majored in engineering, followed. Klineberg earned a masters degree and, in 1968, a doctorate in Engineering and Applied Science from the California Institute of Technology. The title of his dissertation was, “The theory of laminar viscous-inviscid interactions in supersonic flow.”
A doctorate in hand, Klineberg began his career conducting studies in fluid dynamics at the California Institute of Technology. At the same time, he tested the world of private enterprise, doing research for the Douglas Aircraft Company and the Grumman Aircraft Company. Then, for thirty-two years, Klineberg worked for NASA in a variety of technical and management positions. In 1987 he was appointed Director of NASA’s Lewis Research Center, a position he held until 1990, when he was appointed Director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Klineberg led the Goddard Center until 1995, when he retired from the government. In that year, Swales Aerospace appointed Klineberg CEO.
Dr. Klineberg’s service to his country remains as alive today as it was twenty years ago. In March, 2005, he testified before the Committee on Science, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Dr. Klineberg received both honors and rewards for his many contributions in space systems and aeronautics. Among them are “The NASA Distinguished Leadership Medal,” “The NASA Goddard Award of Merit,” and “The U.S. Government Meritorious Executive Award.” There are also those who consider Klineberg part of a Martian Conspiracy.