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On February 19, The Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III instrument launched aboard a cargo capsule to the International Space Station (ISS). Brooke Thornton is in charge of operating and monitoring the payload once it reaches the ISS. SAGE III — equipped with a telescope, grating spectrometer, and charge coupled device detector arra…
 
In outdoor locations, firefighters and emergency responders can use GPS technology to track one another. Indoor environments like high-rises and steel-reinforced structures, however, frequently block radio signals. With the development of POINTER (Precision Outdoor and Indoor Navigation and Tracking for Emergency Responders), Darmindra Arumugam has…
 
Since 2003, Farzin Amzajerdian has worked on the Navigation Doppler Lidar (NDL), a sensor designed to support safe and precise vehicle landings on Mars and other destinations. The breadbox-sized NDL contains three lasers, a small electronics box, and lenses connected by fiber-optic cables. Amzajerdian will soon oversee the testing of the technology…
 
During his time with former employer Science and Engineering Services, LLC, Branimir Blagojevic helped build a remote-sensing device that detected biological agents. Blagojevic currently leads the development of the Bio-Indicator Lidar Instrument (BILI), a device that could be used to spot organic molecules and signs of life on Mars.…
 
On September 8, NASA launched OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer). The probe will spend two years in space, chasing down an asteroid known as Bennu. Discoveries from the mission could help scientists understand clues to the origins of life.…
 
Edward Chow leads the development of AUDREY, the Assistant for Understanding Data through Reasoning, Extraction, and sYnthesis. The artificial-intelligence system captures a variety of sensor data, including gases, temperature, and GPS signals. By sending alerts through a mobile device or head-mounted display, AUDREY could soon be used to guide fir…
 
Stevan Spremo is the project manager of COTSAT-1, or Cost Optimized Test of Spacecraft Avionics and Technologies. The ongoing development project aims to build a fully functional spacecraft for $500,000 in parts and $2 million labor. The prototype is the first of what could be a series of rapidly produced, low-cost flight vehicles.…
 
Dr. Patrick Fink leads technology development of radio frequency identification (RFID) systems. The RFID technology will support NASA's efforts to track its various inventories on the International Space Station, from personal supplies to equipment components. A new smart container innovation tracks individual items, regardless of placement.…
 
Using the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory satellite, launched in 2014, NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency researchers have taken the first 3D images of raindrops and snowflakes. The GPM snapshots will help research meteorologist Joe Munchak determine precipitation rates and support the improvement of weather models.…
 
On December 6, 2015, two CubeSats successfully launched to the International Space Station. As part of NASA's Nodes mission, the CubeSats will soon communicate with each other and demonstrate the benefits of a networked "swarm" of spacecraft.
 
Jim Heidmann of Glenn Research Center (Cleveland, OH) and Jason Welstead of Langley Research Center (Hampton, VA) have led NASA efforts to develop all-electric and hybrid-electric designs for large passenger aircraft. Using low-carbon propulsion technology, they are exploring how planes can be redesigned and configured.…
 
Two NASA-developed tools - the Dynamic Weather Routes (DWR) tool and a national implementation of DWR called the National Airspace System Constraint Evaluation and Notification Tool (NASCENT) - will help pilots identify and evaluate opportunities for more efficient paths around convective weather and other airspace constraints. Dave McNally and Kap…
 
As NASA plans launches to Mars, Europa, and beyond, the agency's Office of Planetary Protection ensures that the environments are shielded against contamination, especially bacteria and microbes from Earth. Dr. Catherine Conley oversees and audits the planetary protection strategies for NASA's exploration missions.…
 
Dr. Santo Padula has developed testing techniques to support the development of advanced materials like metallic foams and shape memory alloys (SMAs). SMAs are metals that "remember" their original shape. With the application of heat, a deformed SMA returns to its initial form.
 
Al Bowers is the program manager of Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Lower Drag, or Prandtl-d. The project's researchers validated elements of a boomerang-shaped wing design that could greatly improve the efficiency of future aircraft.
 
Environmental engineer Amy Keith and her team developed a low-cost detector of contaminants in plants and surrounding groundwater. The non-destructive technology scans the surface of a leaf for spectral signatures. NASA currently seeks a development partner for the hyperspectral estimator.
 
After a 2013 wildfire led to the loss of 19 elite Arizona firefighters, Langley Research Center engineers, including Walt Bruce and Anthony Calomino, worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service to see how NASA’s spacecraft thermal protection system could be used to create new emergency fire shelters on Earth.…
 
Kim Hambuchen is currently building user interfaces for Valkyrie, a six-foot-two, 286-pound humanoid robot. The two-legged Valkyrie builds on NASA’s Robonaut, a robotic assistant currently onboard the International Space Station.
 
Project Lead Kurt Leucht has spent recent months testing the software of NASA's "Swarmie" robots. Using an evolving genetic algorithm, the robots operate as connected, ant-like swarms. The technology could prove to be valuable as humans explore harsh, remote, or inaccessible locations where teleoperation and resource gathering is required.…
 
Dr. David Miller began his term as NASA’s Chief Technologist on March 17, 2014. He currently serves as the Agency’s principal advisor and advocate on NASA technology policy and programs. Miller, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, previously worked with a range of NASA programs, including the space shuttle, the International S…
 
A geologist by training, Carolyn Parcheta had an idea in July of 2013 to develop a robot that explores and measures the shape of volcanic fissures. She worked with engineering teams at JPL to develop the VolcanoBot. In May 2014, the robot explored Mauna Ulu on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone in Hawaii. A smaller, more compact version, VolcanoBot 2, will r…
 
David Blake developed the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) X-ray diffraction instrument. The powder-handling device, now featured on the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity, won Blake the 2010 NASA Commercial Government Invention of the Year award. His technology allowed scientists to analyze the billion-year-old rocks on the Red Planet.…
 
Susan Draper performs microstructural analysis of metals and determines where fractures have occurred and propagated. Draper is currently characterizing electron-beam-melted, additive-manufactured titanium-6 aluminum-4 vanadium, a titanium alloy. Her team is currently working with the rocket and missile propulsion manufacturer Aerojet Rockdyne to i…
 
Brian Trease, JPL Mechanical Engineer, uses origami principles to design large-scale and small-scaled deployable structures. In 2013, Trease collaborated with experts to develop an 82-ft circular solar array that folds up to be 8.9 feet in diameter.
 
Jeff Ding developed Ultrasonic Stir Welding (USW) to join large pieces of very high?strength metals, such as titanium and Inconel. The solid-state weld process improves the current Thermal Stir Welding process by adding high-power ultrasonic (HPU) energy at 20 kHz frequency.
 
Michelle Munk is Entry, Descent and Landing Principal Investigator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate. Most recently, Munk was the subsystem lead and the Deputy Project Manager for the Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent, and Landing Instrumentation (MEDLI) flight payload.
 
Dr. Vadim Smelyanskiy is a principal scientist for physics-based methods in the Exploration Technology Directorate at NASA Ames Research Center. During his tenure at NASA, he has been the principal investigator on several projects funded by NASA and other government agencies.
 
Tom Flatley, computer engineer and current head of the Science Data Processing Branch at Goddard Space Flight Center, leads a group of engineers and programmers in their development of flight and ground-based science data processing systems and applications, including SpaceCube, CubeSats/SmallSats, modeling/simulation/visualization, and other techn…
 
David Wing is the principal investigator for the Traffic Aware Strategic Aircrew Requests (TASAR) concept and software application. The cockpit technology, while taking aircraft traffic, weather, and other data sources into account, will compute trajectory changes during the flight to save pilots time and fuel.…
 
Garry Lyles is Chief Engineer for the Space Launch System Program office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. In 2012, the National Space Club named Lyles the Astronautics Engineer of the Year in honor of his decades of advancing the nation's human spaceflight systems.
 
Chuck Taylor is principal investigator of in-space propulsion and space power generation within the Game Changing Development Program. He is responsible for a portfolio of technologies, including large-scale solar electric propulsion systems.
 
Rob Mueller is the Lead Senior Technologist for the RASSOR (Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot) project, as well as all Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Human Robotics Systems. The RASSOR mining robot will collect soil (known as regolith) on the moon or Mars so it can be processed into rocket propellants, breathable air, water, and other …
 
Dr. Andrew Watson works on models of human vision and applies them to visual technology. The Founder and Editor in Chief of the Journal of Vision, he is also a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and of the Society for Information Display. Watson received a 2011 Presidential Rank Aw…
 
Chuck Jorgensen, Chief Scientist for the Neuro Engineering Lab at NASA Ames Research Center, in Moffett Field, CA, currently studies biolelectrical interfacing and the detection of human emotion and visualization.
 
Dr. Carlos Calle, lead scientist in Kennedy Space Center's Electrostatics and Surface Physics Lab, is developing instrumentation that addresses the problem of electrostatic dust. The technology will be used for future exploration missions on Mars and the Moon.
 
Dr. Greg Chavers, test lead at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, helped to design the "Mighty Eagle" robotic prototype lander. The vehicle, which can guide itself to a specified target, flew "open loop" to an altitude of 100 feet in late August.
 
Neil Cheatwood is principal investigator of the Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3). In July, the IRVE-3 team tested an inflatable heat shield that protects spacecraft from extreme temperatures and hypersonic speeds when entering a planet's atmosphere or returning to Earth.
 
Marcia Domack and John Wagner, engineers in the Advanced Materials and Processing Branch at NASA Langley Research Center, have worked with Boston-based metal fabricator Spincraft, focusing on a one-piece manufacturing process called spin forming.
 
In March, NASA successfully launched five rockets from its Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The launch was part of NASA's Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX), which will help scientists better understand the jet stream. Jack Vieira, range project man- ager for the ATREX mission, helped to launch five suborbital rockets more than 60 mi…
 
NASA is helping to lead an international effort to upgrade the systems that supply crucial location information and earth science measurements. Stephen Merkowitz, the project manager of NASA's space geodesy initiative at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the budget and schedule for the upgraded ground station that wil…
 
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