Kennedy News

Bruce Buckingham
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
(321) 867-2468

April 4, 2003
RELEASE : 27-03
NASA Engineer Kissiah Inducted To Space Technology Hall Of Fame
Retired NASA/Kennedy Space Center engineer and inventor Adam Kissiah will be officially inducted to the Space Foundation’s Space Technology Hall of Fame next week for helping thousands of individuals to hear, some for the very first time.

Kissiah developed the cochlear implant concept more than 25 years ago while working at Kennedy Space Center utilizing knowledge he acquired working with the Space Shuttle program, particularly electronic sensing systems, telemetry, and sounds and vibrations sensors. The Cochlear Implant Association estimates over 66,000 patients have received an implant in this $1.65 billion industry.

"It’s nice to know I contributed to making many lives better," Kissiah said. "That's special. It allows me to think that perhaps I did something that helps."

Unlike a hearing aid, which just makes sounds louder, the implant selects speech signal information and then produces a pattern of electrical pulses in the patient's ear. Although it is impossible to make sounds completely natural, because a mere 22 electrodes are replacing the function of thousands of hair cells in a normal hearing ear, the implant still serves as an excellent rehabilitative device.

The Space Foundation will honor Kissiah’s work, and five other inducted technologies and innovators, during the Space Technology Hall of Fame 15th Anniversary Awards Dinner April 10 at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. Representing the ceremony’s co-sponsor, Northrop Grumman Space Technology, company president Ronald Sugar will serve as the evening’s host. NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe, and former astronaut and NASA Administrator Richard Truly will be special guest presenters.

The Space Foundation, in cooperation with NASA, established the Space Technology Hall of Fame in 1988 to honor innovators who transform space technology into commercial products, to increase public awareness of space spin-off technology benefits and to encourage further innovation. This year, the Foundation celebrates the largest selection of Hall of Fame inductees, bringing total inducted technologies to 44.

For more information, visit www.spacefoundation.org or contact Stephanie Schierholz at 719/576-8000 or stephanie@spacefoundation.org.

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