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For Release: June 2, 1997

Nicole Forest
(757) 864-5036

Michael Finneran
(757) 864-6121

RELEASE NO. 97-041

NASA LANGLEY ENGINEER CHOSEN AS DISCOVER MAGAZINE AWARD WINNER

Mark Froggatt, a NASA Langley Research Center engineer was named one of the winners in the 8th Annual Discover Magazine Awards for Technological Innovation, Saturday at Epcot Center in Florida.

Winner Froggatt, an electrical engineer in the Nondestructive Evaluation Sciences Branch, won from four finalists in the Aviation and Aerospace category for its fiber optic strain sensor. The finalists were chosen from more than 4,000 entries.

"I am very surprised," Froggatt said about winning. "I think what I do is fairly mundane and uninteresting to other people."

The fiber optic sensor, originally designed to be used as a structural testing device for the X-33, can be used to measure the stress damage on the Space Shuttle without dismantling the craft, which will save time and money. The fiber optic cables would be glued to various shuttle components, allowing stress detection by measuring light beamed through the cable from a built-in mini-laser.

Winners in eight categories were awarded by science-enthusiast celebrities including Ann Druyan, wife of the late Carl Sagan, who presented Froggatt with his award.

Froggatt, received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He began his career with NASA Langley in 1990, as an electrical engineer. While working with NASA, he is currently working on his doctorate from the University of Rochester, Institute of Fiber Optics.

The Aviation and Aerospace category was judged by Buzz Aldrin, Gemini and Apollo astronaut; Donald E. Fink, Jr. Publisher of Flight & Space Magazine; Walter "Wally" Schirra, one of NASA's original seven astronauts; and Patty Wagstaff, three-time winner and first woman recipient of the U.S. Aerobatic Championship Award. The July issue of the monthly magazine will feature the winners and the finalists of this prestigious program.

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