Who's Who at NASA

Mike Krainak, Laser and Electro-Optics Branch Head, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

In 2020, NASA's first-ever integrated-photonics modem will be tested aboard the International Space Station. Mike Krainak leads the development of the modem, which integrates optics-based functions such as lasers, switches, and wires onto a microchip. The technology will improve the way NASA sends and receives data during space missions.

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Jim Heidmann, Project Manager for NASA’s Advanced Air Transport Technology Project, and Jason Welstead, Aerospace Engineer

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.

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Dave McNally, Aerospace Engineer, Air Traffic Management, and Kapil Sheth, Aerospace Research Engineer, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

Convective weather, such as severe thunderstorm activity, is the leading cause of delay in the U.S. National Airspace System. 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 Kapil Sheth are the lead developers of the technologies. DWR was tested operationally by a major US airline for three years.

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MEET NASA'S PLANETARY PROTECTION OFFICER

Dr. Catharine A. Conley, Planetary Protection Officer, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 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.

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Dr. Catherine A. Conley, Planetary Protection Officer, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC

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.

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Dr. Santo A. Padula, Materials Research Engineer, Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH

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.

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Al Bowers, Chief Scientist, Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA

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.

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