Features

NASA Studies Paper-Like Plastic for Space Electronics

On the right is an antenna array embedded on liquid crystal polymer (LCP); a large sheet of LCP is on the left. (Georgia Tech Photo: Gary Meek)NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office and the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) are evaluating a material called liquid crystal polymer (LCP) for electronics applications in space, as well as possible uses in consumer electronics. The ultra-thin, paper-like plastic can incorporate a variety of electronic circuits, while still molding to any shape. It also performs well in extreme temperatures and intense radiation found in space.

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NASA Teams With Army to Analyze Helicopter Parts Failure

From left: James Van Hoose and Dr. Po Chen, engineers with Qualis Corporation inThe Materials and Processes Laboratory at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has partnered with the Aviation Engineering Directorate of the U.S. Army’s Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center to conduct failure analysis on helicopter parts. Using Marshall’s capabilities in metallurgy, the lab analyzed aircraft components such as engine parts, swash plates, and fasteners from Army helicopters that flew in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was found that the parts all experienced some type of failure with metal castings, forgings, or extrusions.

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Dr. Walter Merrill, Associate for Business Development, John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH

Dr. Walter MerrillDr. Walter Merrill is involved in a variety of programs aimed at forming partnerships with private and public entities. For the past five years, he has been working towards developing microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices that are made out silicon carbide. In that capacity, Dr. Merrill was instrumental in helping NASA Glenn Research Center, the State of Ohio, and Case Western Reserve University launch the Glennan Microsystems Initiative to address the research, development, and application needs of NASA and industry in the field of MEMS.

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David Wilt, Electrical Engineer, NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH

David WiltAs part of the Forward Technology Solar Cell Experiment (FTSCE), a team of engineers from NASA Glenn, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Ohio State University has developed a new type of solar cell that is durable, lightweight, and highly efficient. David Wilt is an electrical engineer at NASA Glenn who is working on the project.

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Taumi Daniels, TAMDAR Project Lead, NASA's Langley Research Center,Hampton, VA

Taumi DanielsWeather forecasters in the middle of the United States are making better local predictions for pilots thanks to an airborne sensor being tested by NASA's Aviation Safety Program. Taumi Daniels led the team of researchers at Langley Research Center that designed, built, and equipped dozens of Mesaba Airlines aircraft with the Tropospheric Airborne Meteorological Data Report instrument (TAMDAR) that allows aircraft to automatically sense and report atmospheric conditions. The Georgia Institute of Technology Research Institute, Atlanta, GA, and AirDAT, L.L.C., Morrisville, NC, developed TAMDAR for NASA.

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Kim Ballard, Computer Engineer, Electrical Design Branch

NASA's Kennedy Space Center, FL Engineers at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) developed the Laser Scaling and Measurement Device for Photographic Images – a camera attachment that uses laser technology – to assist scientists in determining the exact scale of any damages to the Space Shuttle’s external tank when viewing photographs of the spacecraft on its launch pad. This NASA-developed camera accessory also is being used to "shoot" photos that can precisely measure details of crime scenes. When a picture is taken with the instrument, the image is loaded onto a computer and items are then viewable and measurable on the computer screen. Kim Ballard designed the Microsoft-Word compatible software for the device.

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Dr. Marco Giardino, Chief Technologist, Engineering & Science Directorate

NASA's Stennis Space Center, Mississippi Dr. Marco GiardinoUsing high-tech remote sensing methods, a collection of artifacts has been unearthed at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, MS. The objects uncovered during archeological excavations conducted over the past 11 years were found at the site of the 19th century Hancock County seat on the Pearl River, which is now part of the space center. Dr. Giardino was one of the archeologists involved in the dig.

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