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For release: 01/08/04
Release #: 04-006  

Dr. Raymond Clinton Jr. named manager of NASA Marshall Center Microgravity Science and Applications Department


Dr. Raymond (Corky) Clinton Jr. is the head of the Marshall Center's Microgravity Science and Applications Department — a group of more than 450 researchers, engineers and support personnel who perform research that enables NASA's exploration of space. Crewmembers on the International Space Station are conducting some of that research in the microgravity, or low-gravity, environment inside the orbiting outpost.

Photo: Clinton (NASA/MSFC/Doug Stoffer)

Dr. Raymond (Corky) G. Clinton Jr. of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville , Ala. , has been named manager of the Science Directorate's Microgravity Science and Applications Department. He will be responsible for planning, budgeting and operations for a department that leads research to enable NASA's exploration of space.

"I am proud to lead a team that is playing a key role in scientific research and in creating technologies that will enable the next generation of explorers to go beyond where we have been," Clinton said. "I am confident our research will lead to discoveries, such as new materials. Our research will bolster NASA's exploration efforts and contribute to improvements in Earth-based processes."

In this Senior Executive Service position, Clinton will lead a team of more than 450 researchers, engineers and support personnel responsible for unique scientific facilities used for world-class research in space and on Earth. The Senior Executive Service is the personnel system that covers most of the top managerial, supervisory and policy positions in the executive branch of the federal government.

Clinton's team works with hundreds of science teams around the world to solve technological challenges -- designing radiation shielding materials to protect future space travelers and developing materials suitable for building better spacecraft.

"Right now, astronauts on the International Space Station are conducting experiments that we manage inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox," Clinton said of the special sealed facility that the Space Station crew accesses using gloves on its sides and front. "Our team at the Marshall Center pioneered the glovebox concept, so space crews could conduct experiments safely with materials and fluids in an enclosed environment."

Recently, scientists have used the glovebox to grow semiconductors, study processes used to make metals and alloys, and examine unique fluids that can be used for braking systems and robotics.

The department's scientists and engineers focus on materials science and macromolecular biotechnology — the study of the structure of life by examining proteins and other biological substances that make up every living thing. Experiment equipment managed by Clinton 's department has been used to grow biological crystals on the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle. This research has produced results that have been included in the growing worldwide database of protein structures, and has introduced a marked improvement in the technology for the crystallization of critical macromolecules here on Earth.

To this team, Clinton brings his expertise as a nationally recognized authority in the development of advanced materials for space transportation systems. He has doctorate, master's and bachelor's degrees in aerospace engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta . He has published more than 60 papers, preprints and technical reports.

Clinton joined the Marshall Center team in 1984, and has served in many leadership positions, including chief of the Ceramics and Coatings Branch, chief of the Nonmetallic and Materials Processes Branch, and chief of the Nonmetallic Materials and Processes Division. He led the External Tank Composite Nose Cone Team and currently serves as NASA co-chair of the joint Department of Defense/NASA Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technologies Materials Working Group.

In 1990, he received the NASA Silver Snoopy award — presented by the Astronaut Corps to those individuals who have performed an outstanding effort, contributing to the success of human space flight missions. He received the NASA Medal for Exceptional Achievement in 1995 for his leadership in developing and testing materials used for the Reusable Solid Rocket Motors that help propel NASA's Space Shuttle into orbit. In 2000, the Engineers Council for Distinguished Engineering Achievement honored Clinton for his efforts in the development of nonmetallic materials for application to current and future launch systems.

Clinton recently completed a two-year special assignment to NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research at NASA Headquarters in Washington . Initially, he served as the assistant enterprise scientist for materials science with responsibility for development and implementation of strategic research initiatives supporting NASA's exploration missions. Subsequently, as the special assistant for research integration and management, he was responsible for strategic planning and establishing integrated science research policies for NASA's Physical Sciences Research Division.

Clinton is a native of Hot Springs , Ark. , where family and friends reside.

For more information:
News release
Microgravity Science and Applications Department
Biological and Physical Research Enterprise
Microgravity Science
Space Station Science Operations

Steve Roy
Public Affairs Office
(256) 544-0034

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