Headquarters, Washington, DC
|For Release: Mar. 15, 1999
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA
|NASA Selects Top Inventions of the Year
|The inventor of a device
that helps stabilize NASA spacecraft has been selected to receive
the NASA Government Inventor of the Year Award. The NASA selection
committee also chose a high temperature resin material to receive
the NASA Commercial Invention of the Year.
|Inventor Charles E.
Clagett, a Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, employee and
Head of the Component and Hardware Systems Branch at Goddard,
received the honor for the Apparatus for Providing Torque and for
Storing Momentum Energy."
|"Being selected the NASA
government inventor of the year is really a surprise, an honor, and
quite a shock," said Clagett. "I appreciate the fact that I have
been recognized for my invention."
|Commonly known as the SMEX
Reaction/Momentum Wheel, the device was developed for NASA's
Small Explorer program (SMEX). A compact mechanism was
needed that could accelerate at a high rate with little vibration
to fulfill the missions' science requirements. The wheel's compact
design is durable with at least a four-year life expectancy while
providing improved performance and better stability for a
spacecraft, and significantly reducing vibration.
|This reaction wheel
invention has been highly successful on the last two Small Explorer
Transition Region and Coronal Explorer and the
Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite. The high
acceleration rate and low vibration device allows detection of
signals that would have been obscured by previous reaction wheels,
thus enabling Goddard to support missions that previous technology
could not support.
|NASA's Commercial Invention
of the Year goes to Langley Research Center's nominated PETI-5,
short for "Phenylethynyl Terminated Imide Oligomers," fifth
composition. This material can be used both as a glue that holds
fibers together and as an adhesive in a variety of aerospace and
commercial applications. Langley inventors Paul Hergenrother,
Joseph Smith and Brian Jensen were awarded three patents on the
|PETI-5 was originally
developed for high-speed, high-temperature aircraft applications
because it is strong and lightweight. Its exceptional combination
of properties has attracted the interest of U.S. industry. PETI-5
products are now commercially available and have resulted in about
$10 million in sales.
|To date, NASA has licensed
PETI-5 technology to four companies. Designers and manufacturers
like PETI-5 because it is easy to process into complex parts and
because of its mechanical properties, durability, non-toxicity and
ability to adjust to changing environments. In the future, PETI-5
may be applied to consumer products like high-performance
|The inventors will be
honored at a NASA Headquarters ceremony where they will receive an
award check and certificate.
- end -
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