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Marny Skora

Keith Henry
757-864-6120, 344-7211 (mobile)


Space Station Experiments Mitigate Risk for Future Exploration

As Space Shuttle Atlantis separated from the International Space Station (ISS) last month, astronauts used the robot arm to scan the heat shield looking for signs of impact damage caused by small meteoroids or manmade orbital debris.

Bill Kinard has spent half a century defining the meteoroid and man-made debris environments in space to determine the effects they can have on operational spacecraft. He will discuss his work at a lecture Thursday, Oct. 5, at 2 p.m. in the NASA Langley Research Center Reid Conference Center. Kinard will give a similar briefing for the general public at 7:30 p.m. at the Virginia Air & Space Center, downtown Hampton.

Media who wish to interview Kinard at a press briefing at 1:15 p.m. Thursday should contact Keith Henry at 864-6120 or 344-7211 (mobile) by noon for credentials and entry to the Center.

Kinard's most recent effort, called the Materials in Space International Space Station Experiments - or MISSEs - is providing the insight needed to develop materials for future spacecraft. STS-115 astronauts retrieved MISSE-5 that had been attached to the ISS for a year and returned the sample-filled suitcase to Earth when Atlantis landed.

Early in his career, Kinard conceived and was principal investigator for the Meteoroid Technology Satellite that first proved that the "Meteor Bumper Shield" is an effective concept to shield against impacting meteoroids and orbiting debris. Every large spacecraft since, including the ISS, has used multi-wall meteor bumpers to provide protection.

Kinard was also instrumental in the design and development of the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) that obtained valuable information on the environments in near-Earth space. LDEF data is now regarded as the benchmark for environmental effects on spacecraft in low-Earth orbit.

A native of Ninety Six, S.C., Kinard graduated from Clemson College and served a two-year tour of duty in the Air Force attached to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) at the Langley Research Center. He remained at NACA, which became NASA in 1958, and after 50 years remains a NASA Langley employee.


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