Who's Who at NASA

Kenneth Dudley, Senior Researcher, Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA

Kenneth Dudley is a researcher in the Electromagnetics and Sensors Branch at NASA's Langley Research Center. His project team currently focuses on the testing and development of the SansEC sensor. NASA Tech Briefs: What is the SansEC sensor? Kenneth Dudley: SansEC is a sensor technology, a new technical framework for designing, powering, and interrogating sensors to detect various physical phenomena. It can measure anything from electrical, mechanical, thermal, and chemical phenomena.

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Dr. Vadim Smelyanskiy, Principal Scientist, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Dr. Vadim Smelyanskiy, Principal Scientist, Ames research Center, Moffett Field, CA 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.

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Tom Flatley, Computer Engineer, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

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 technologies. NASA Tech Briefs: Why will NASA require improvements in on-board computing power? Tom Flatley: Many of the next-generation instruments currently being developed are going to produce tremendous data volumes, and at extremely high data rates. Their needs are surpassing the capabilities of current flight processing systems, so what we’re trying to do is enable an order of magnitude or more improvement in on-board processing power so that we can handle the large data volumes and high data rates that the next generation of missions will require.

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David Wing, Air Traffic Management Researcher, Langley Research Center, Hampton VA

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. NASA Tech Briefs: What is TASAR? David Wing: TASAR is a near-term concept for improving aircraft operations that we’ve developed at NASA Langley. It stands for Traffic Aware Strategic Aircrew Requests. Basically, it’s putting technology on the aircraft in the cockpit that is monitoring the aircraft’s route of flight, and looking for opportunities to optimize that route with lateral and/or vertical changes, either to save time or save fuel or both. And in the process, it’s looking at the environment around the aircraft. First and foremost, we’re focusing on traffic awareness. Using airborne surveillance technology, such as ADS-B [Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast], which is a technology where aircraft broadcast their position over a data link,a TASAR-equipped aircraft can receive and process the positions of other aircraft in the vicinity. The cockpit technology takes that data into account when computing optimum trajectory changes, to ensure those changes don’t interfere with the nearby traffic.

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Jim Lux, Task Manager, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

Jim Lux is task manager on FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response), a portable radar device that detects heartbeats and breathing of victims trapped under rubble in a disaster. NASA Tech Briefs: What is FINDER? Jim Lux: FINDER is a radar that detects the heartbeats and breathing of victims that are buried in disaster rubble, like from an earthquake or from a large hurricane.

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Butler Hine, Project Manager, LADEE, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Dr. Butler Hine is the project manager of the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft. The vehicle, successfully launched in September, will characterize the dust environment of the moon. NASA Tech Briefs: What is the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft? Dr. Butler Hine: It’s a small robotic orbiter. We launched on September 6 on a Minotaur V rocket. We’re currently in phasing loops around the Earth. We’re on our way to the moon, and once we get there, we’re going to check out our science instruments and do an optical laser-com experiment. We’ll drop down into a very low orbit and do our science missions.

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Dr. Leslie Bebout, Microbial Ecologist, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Dr. Leslie Bebout works as a microbial ecologist in the Exobiology Branch at NASA’s Moffett Field, CA-based Ames Research Center. She and her colleagues study the complexities of carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen cycling in early Earth and Mars analog microbial systems. They concurrently are using this systems biology approach to work with engineers to design systems geared to optimize the use of water, light and nutrient resources relevant both to the development of new green technologies and space exploration capabilities. NASA Tech Briefs: What does a microbial ecologist do? Dr. Leslie Bebout: We started studying microbes because they are the earliest forms of life on planet Earth. They’re also what we’re looking for, either remnants of cells themselves or indicators that they were there on Mars. We also look at gases in the atmospheres of far distant planets to see if we get indications of life processes there. That’s the historical basis for study of microbiology and microbial ecology at NASA.

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