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Solving a Safety Problem Earns Venkat a NASA Award
By: Rob Wyman

NASA has presented its Quality and Safety Achievement Recognition award, or QASAR, for 2011 to Venki Venkat of NASA's Langley Research Center.

NASA Safety Award.
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NASA Langley's Center Director Lesa Roe and Venki Venkat, safety head for Langley's National Transonic Facility, at the QASAR Awards Ceremony. Credit: Sanjay Venkat

The QASAR award recognizes individual government and contractor employees who have demonstrated exemplary performance in contributing to the quality or safety of products, services, processes or management programs and activities.

"I am truly honored to receive the award on behalf of NASA Langley," Venkat said. "Nothing can be done alone at high-risk facilities. It is an award for team work and I represented the team."

A NASA contractor of Analytical Systems and Materials, Venkat is the safety head for the National Transonic Facility at NASA Langley. He received the award for troubleshooting a mechanical failure that led to a mishap in the wind tunnel during an important test. Venkat's investigation allowed the wind tunnel to return to service without delaying the test, but it revealed a design deficiency that could have damaged the equipment and injured the operators. Venkat devised a permanent solution for the problem.

The National Transonic Facility uses liquid nitrogen at very low temperatures to test aerospace models in realistic flight conditions. Venkat has developed more than 50 special procedures for its operation and developed emergency procedures to help ensure the safety of the facility and the people who work there.

"Dr. Venkat's work has made significant contributions to both the NTF and other large test facilities at Langley Research Center," said Damodar Ambur, director of the Ground Facilities and Testing Directorate at Langley. "His sustained commitment to safety and technical knowledge in aerosciences and test systems has made him highly sought after by others here, and has helped foster teamwork to improve safety across NASA Langley."

Venkat was recognized along with four other recipients on February 23 at the agency's ninth annual Project Management Challenge in Orlando, Fla.

The Researcher News
NASA Langley Research Center
Editor & Curator: Denise Lineberry
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Executive Editor & Responsible NASA Official: Rob Wyman