Eugene H. Trinh bigraphy, stories - Vietnamese-American astronaut

Eugene H. Trinh : biography

September 14, 1950 -

Eugene Huu-Chau "Gene" Trinh (Vietnamese: Trịnh Hữu Châu, born September 14, 1950) is a Vietnamese American biochemist who flew aboard NASA Space Shuttle mission STS-50 as a Payload Specialist, becoming the first Vietnamese American astronaut in space. He is also the first Vietnamese-French-American to travel into outer space.

Awards and honors

  • Full tuition Scholarship (Columbia University)
  • Sheffield Fellowship (Yale University)
  • Group Achievement award NASA for flight experiments
  • Science Achievement award for Principal Investigator team NASA
  • NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal
  • NASA Space Flight Medal

Research activities

Physical acoustics, fluid dynamics and containerless materials processing. Development of high intensity acoustic levitation devices and experimental instrumentation and measurement techniques for fluid dynamics experiments as well as high temperature materials processing experiments in ground based laboratory and in low gravity. Development of shuttle flight experiments, and participation in both Spacelab flight mission support activities as well as flight crew training. Alternate Payload Specialist (APS) on Spacelab 3 mission (May 1985). Research Task Manager and Project Scientist for Drop Physics Module flight experiments. NASA investigator in Fluid Physics, Biotechnology, and Materials Science.


Trinh has published over 40 reviewed articles and authored as many conference papers in the areas of Fluid Dynamics, Acoustics, Materials Science, and Microgravity science and technology.


Born in Saigon, South Vietnam, Trinh moved with his parents to Paris, France, when he was two years old. He came to the United States to study when he was 18 and later became an American citizen.

Trinh graduated from Lycee Michelet in Paris, France, in 1968 with a baccalaureate degree. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering-Applied Physics from Columbia University in 1972. He then studied at Yale University, earning a Masters of Science in 1974, a Masters of Philosophy in 1975, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Applied Physics in 1977.


Acoustical Society of America, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Sigma Xi Research Society, American Society of Mechanical Engineering, American Physical Society.


Trinh is currently the Director of the Physical Sciences Research Division in the Biological and Physical Research Enterprise at NASA headquarters. He started with NASA in 1999, as a Senior Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He conducted experimental and theoretical research in Fluid Dynamics, Fundamental Materials Science, and Levitation Technology for 20 years. He performed hands-on experimental investigations in laboratories aboard the NASA KC-135 aircraft, and on the Space Shuttle Columbia.

Trinh was a Payload Specialist crew member on the STS-50/United States Microgravity Lab-1 Space Shuttle flight in 1992.

As Director of the Physical Sciences Research Division at NASA, Trinh leads the effort to develop an innovative peer-reviewed scientific program focusing on the effects of gravity on physical, chemical, and biological systems. The results of this program will enable the human exploration and development of space, providing the scientific basis for technologies permitting humankind to explore the vast expanses of our solar system and beyond.

In May 2004, Eugene H. Trinh received the Golden Torch Award from the Vietnamese American National Gala in Washington, D.C.

Trinh formerly resided in Culver City, California, but now makes his home in McLean, Virginia. He is married to the former Yvette Fabry and has one child.

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