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NASA Ames Astrogram – May/June 2024

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Swarming for Success: Starling Completes Primary Mission

by Tara Friesen

After ten months in orbit, the Starling spacecraft swarm successfully demonstrated its primary mission’s key objectives, representing significant achievements in the capability of swarm configurations. 

Swarms of satellites may one day be used in deep space exploration. An autonomous network of spacecraft could self-navigate, manage scientific experiments, and execute maneuvers to respond to environmental changes without the burden of significant communications delays between the swarm and Earth. 

Cubesats
The four CubeSate spacecraft that make up the Starling swarm have demonstrated success in autonomous operations, completing all key mission objectives.

“The success of Starling’s initial mission represents a landmark achievement in the development of autonomous networks of small spacecraft,” said Roger Hunter, program manager for NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology program at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. “The team has been very successful in achieving our objectives and adapting in the face of challenges.”  

Sharing the Work

The Distributed Spacecraft Autonomy (DSA) experiment, flown onboard Starling, demonstrated the spacecraft swarm’s ability to optimize data collection across the swarm. The CubeSats analyzed Earth’s ionosphere by identifying interesting phenomena and reaching a consensus between each satellite on an approach for analysis.  

By sharing observational work across a swarm, each spacecraft can “share the load” and observe different data or work together to provide deeper analysis, reducing human workload, and keeping the spacecraft working without the need for new commands sent from the ground. 

The experiment’s success means Starling is the first swarm to autonomously distribute information and operations data between spacecraft to generate plans to work more efficiently, and the first demonstration of a fully distributed onboard reasoning system capable of reacting quickly to changes in scientific observations. 

Communicating Across the Swarm

A swarm of spacecraft needs a network to communicate between each other. The Mobile Ad-hoc Network (MANET) experiment automatically established a network in space, allowing the swarm to relay commands and transfer data between one another and the ground, as well as share information about other experiments cooperatively.  

The team successfully completed all the MANET experiment objectives, including demonstrating routing commands and data to one of the spacecraft having trouble with space to ground communications, a valuable benefit of a cooperative spacecraft swarm. 

“The success of MANET demonstrates the robustness of a swarm,” said Howard Cannon, Starling project manager at NASA Ames. “For example, when the radio went down on one swarm spacecraft, we ‘side-loaded’ the spacecraft from another direction, sending commands, software updates, and other vital information to the spacecraft from another swarm member.” 

Autonomous Swarm Navigation 

Navigating and operating in relation to one another and the planet is an important part of forming a swarm of spacecraft. Starling Formation-Flying Optical Experiment, or StarFOX, uses star trackers to recognize a fellow swarm member, other satellite, or space debris from the background field of stars, then estimate each spacecraft’s position and velocity. 

The experiment is the first-ever published demonstration of this type of swarm navigation, including the ability to track multiple members of a swarm simultaneously and the ability to share observations between the spacecraft, improving accuracy when determining each swarm member’s orbit. 

Near the end of mission operations, the swarm was maneuvered into a passive safety ellipse, and in this formation, the StarFOX team was able to achieve a groundbreaking milestone, demonstrating the ability to autonomously estimate the swarm’s orbits using only inter-satellite measurements from the spacecraft star trackers. 

Managing Swarm Maneuvers 

The ability to plan and execute maneuvers with minimal human intervention is an important part of developing larger satellite swarms. Managing the trajectories and maneuvers of hundreds or thousands of spacecraft autonomously saves time and reduces complexity. 

The Reconfiguration and Orbit Maintenance Experiments Onboard (ROMEO) system tests onboard maneuver planning and execution by estimating the spacecraft’s orbit and planning a maneuver to a new desired orbit. 

The experiment team has successfully demonstrated the system’s ability to determine and plan a change in orbit and is working to refine the system to reduce propellant use and demonstrate executing the maneuvers. The team will continue to adapt and develop the system throughout Starling’s mission extension. 

Swarming Together

Now that Starling’s primary mission objectives are complete, the team will embark on a mission extension known as Starling 1.5, testing space traffic coordination in partnership with SpaceX’s Starlink constellation, which also has autonomous maneuvering capabilities. The project will explore how constellations operated by different users can share information through a ground hub to avoid potential collisions.  

“Starling’s partnership with SpaceX is the next step in operating large networks of spacecraft and understanding how two autonomously maneuvering systems can safely operate in proximity to each other. As the number of operational spacecraft increases each year, we must learn how to manage orbital traffic,” said Hunter. 

NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology program, based at Ames and within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), funds and manages the Starling mission. Blue Canyon Technologies designed and manufactured the spacecraft buses and is providing mission operations support. Rocket Lab USA, Inc. provided launch and integration services. Partners supporting Starling’s payload experiments have included Stanford University’s Space Rendezvous Lab in Stanford, California, York Space Systems (formerly Emergent Space Technologies) of Denver, Colorado, CesiumAstro of Austin, Texas, L3Harris Technologies, Inc., of Melbourne, Florida. Funding support for the DSA experiment was provided by NASA’s Game Changing Development program within STMD. Partners supporting Starling’s mission extension include SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, NASA’s Conjunction Assessment Risk Analysis (CARA) program, and the Department of Commerce. SpaceX manages the Starlink satellite constellation and the Collision Avoidance ground system.

Celebrating Pride at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley

The Intersex Progress Pride flag flies beneath the American flag on the center pole with the California state and NASA flag at either side.
NASA photo by Donald Richey

The Intersex Progress Pride flag (beneath the American flag) flies in front of the Administration Building N200 at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley on June 5, to commemorate LGBTQI+ Pride Month. This is the first time the flag has flown at any NASA center. Ames celebrates and honors the LGBTQI+ members of our NASA community and recognizes the continued work to be done to create an inclusive, welcoming, and supportive environment.

NASA’s Repository Supports Research of Commercial Astronaut Health  

by Tara Friesen

NASA’s Open Science Data Repository provides valuable information to researchers studying the impact of space on the human body. Nearly three years after the Inspiration4 commercial crew launch, biological data from the mission represents the first comprehensive, open-access database to include commercial astronaut health information. 

Access to astronaut research data from astronauts has historically been limited, due to privacy regulations and concerns, but the field of astronauts is changing as commercial spaceflight becomes feasible for civilians.  

Biological data from the Inspiration4 crew has been added to NASA’s Open Science Data Repository, giving researchers access to better understand the impact of space on the human body.
Credit: SpaceX/Inspiration4

“Open-access data is fundamentally transforming our approach to spaceflight research,” said Dr. Sylvain Costes, project manager of the Open Science Data Repository. “The repository is instrumental in this transformation, ensuring that all space-related biological and biomedical data are accessible to everyone. This broad access is vital for driving innovation across fields from astronaut health to terrestrial medical sciences.” 

The collaborative efforts in opening data researchers has led to multiple scientific papers on astronaut health published in Nature in June. The papers represents research to better understand the impact of spaceflight on the human body, how viruses might spread in a zero-gravity environment, and how countermeasures may protect humans on future long-duration missions. 

Ongoing access to the data captured by commercial astronauts means the research can continue long after the crew returns to Earth, impacting the future of research beyond spaceflight, including cancer and genetic diseases and bone health. 

“This series of inspiring articles enabled by the repository and enriched by new data generously shared by commercial astronauts aboard the Inspiration4 mission exemplifies our commitment to open science,” said Costes. “By making our data fully accessible and usable, we’re enabling researchers worldwide to explore new frontiers in space biology.” 

NASA’s Open Science Data Repository is based out of the agency’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. NASA continues to pursue the best methods and technologies to support safe, productive human space travel. Through science conducted in laboratories, ground-based analogs, and missions to the International Space Station, NASA continues to research innovative ways to keep astronauts healthy as space explorations continues to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. 

3D-MAT – A Thermal Protection Material for the Artemis Generation

by Frank Tavares

The 3-Dimensional Multifunctional Ablative Thermal Protection System (3D-MAT) is a thermal protection material developed as a critical component of Orion, NASA’s newest spacecraft built for human deep space missions. It is able to maintain a high level of strength while enduring extreme temperatures during re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere at the end of Artemis missions to the Moon. 3D-MAT has become an essential piece of technology for NASA’s Artemis campaign that will establish the foundation for long-term scientific exploration at the Moon and prepare for human expeditions to Mars, for the benefit of all.

This image includes both the Orion crew module and service module, connected by the compression pad that utilizes the 3D-MAT material.
On the 19th day of the Artemis I mission, the Moon grows larger in frame as Orion prepares for the return powered flyby on Dec. 5, when it will pass approximately 79 miles above the lunar surface. This image includes both the Orion crew module and service module, connected by the compression pad that utilizes the 3D-MAT material.

The 3D-MAT project emerged from a technical problem in early designs of the Orion spacecraft. The compression pad—the connective interface between the crew module, where astronauts reside, and the service module carrying power, propulsion, supplies, and more—was exhibiting issues during Orion’s first test flight, Exploration Flight Test-1, in 2014. NASA engineers realized they needed to find a new material for the compression pad that could hold these different components of Orion together while withstanding the extremely high temperatures of atmospheric re-entry. Using a 3D weave for NASA heat shield materials had been explored, but after the need for a new material for the compression pad was discovered, development quickly escalated.

This led to the evolution of 3D-MAT, a material woven with quartz yarn and cyanate ester resin in a unique three-dimensional design. The quartz yarn used is like a more advanced version of the fiberglass insulation you might have in your attic, and the resin is essentially a high-tech glue. These off-the-shelf aerospace materials were chosen for their ability to maintain their strength and keep heat out at extremely high temperatures. 3D-MAT is woven together with a specialized loom, which packs the yarns tightly together, and then injected with resin using a unique pressurized process. The result is a high-performance material that is extremely effective at maintaining strength when it’s hot, while also insulating the heat from the spacecraft it is protecting.

The 3D-MAT thermal protection material.
The 3D-MAT thermal protection material.
NASA

Within three years, 3D-MAT went from an early-stage concept to a well-developed material and has now been integrated onto NASA’s flagship Artemis campaign. The use of 3D-MAT in the Orion spacecraft’s compression pad during the successful Artemis I mission demonstrated the material’s essential role for NASA’s human spaceflight efforts. This development was made possible within such a short span of time because of the team’s collaboration with small businesses including Bally Ribbon Mills, which developed the weaving process, and San Diego Composites, which co-developed the resin infusion procedure with NASA.

The team behind its development won the NASA Invention of the Year Award, a prestigious honor recognizing how essential 3D-MAT was for the successful Artemis flight and how significant it is for NASA’s future Artemis missions. The inventor team recognized includes Jay Feldman and Ethiraj Venkatapathy from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, Curt Wilkinson of Bally Ribbon Mills, and Ken Mercer of Dynovas.

3D-MAT has applications beyond NASA as well. Material processing capabilities enabled by 3D-MAT have led to other products such as structural parts for Formula One racecars and rocket motor casings. Several potential uses of 3D-MAT in commercial aerospace vehicles and defense are being evaluated based on its properties and performance.

Milestones

  • Winner of NASA Invention of the Year Award in 2023
  • Flown on Artemis I in 2022
  • Being assessed for use by multiple Department of Defense and commercial aerospace entities

Partners

The 3D-MAT project is led out of NASA Ames with the support of various partners, including Bally Ribbon Mills, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, and NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Viginia, with the support of the Game Changing Development Program through NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

U.S. President Joe Biden Arrives Aboard Air Force One

President Biden disembarks Air Force One at Moffett Federal Airfield before departing for a series of events in the region on May 9.
NASA photo by Dominic Hart

2023 Presidential Rank & NASA Honor Awards Ceremony Held

2023-nha-cover-slide

The annual Presidential Rank & NASA Honor Awards Ceremony was held at Ames, and shown virtually, on May 22 in the Ames Auditorium, in N201. Seventy-three employees were selected for individual Presidential and NASA Honor awards and 27 groups were selected for NASA Group Achievement Awards.

Congratulations to all the recipients. Please see below for the list of awardees.

2023 Presidential Rank and NASA Honor Award Recipients:  

Presidential Rank of Meritorious Senior Executive  
Michael Hesse 

Distinguished Service Medal 
Bhavya Lal (A-Suite Nomination) 
Thomas R. Norman 
Huy K. Tran 

2023 Distinguished Service Medal presented to Huy Tran, center, by Center Director Eugene Tu, right, and Deputy Center Director David Korsmeyer, left, in the N201 Auditorium.
NASA photo by Brandon Torres

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Medal 
Dora M. Herrera 
Parag A. Vaishampayan 

2023 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Medal presented to Dora Herrera, center, by Center Director Eugene Tu, right, and Deputy Center Director David Korsmeyer, left, in the N201 Auditorium
2023 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Medal presented to Dora Herrera, center, by Center Director Eugene Tu, right, and Deputy Center Director David Korsmeyer, left, in the N201 Auditorium.
NASA photo by Brandon Torres

Early Career Achievement Medal 
Natasha E. Batalha 
Mirko E. Blaustein-Jurcan 
Athena Chan 
Kathryn M. Chapman 
Chad J. Cleary 
Christine E. Gregg 
Supreet Kaur 
James R. Koch 
Elizabeth L. Lash 
Terrence D. Lewis 
Garrett G. Sadler 
Meghan C. Saephan 
Jordan A. Sakakeeny 
Lauren M. Sanders 
Amanda M. Saravia-Butler 
Logan Torres 
Lauren E. Wibe 
Shannah N. Withrow 
Emina Zanacic 

2023 Early Career Achievement Medal presented to Emina Zanacic, center, by Center Director Eugene Tu, right, and Deputy Center Director David Korsmeyer, left, in the N201 Auditorium.
NASA photo by Brandon Torres

Exceptional Achievement Medal 
Lauren J. Abbott 
Parul Agrawal 
Steven D. Beard 
Janet E. Beegle 
Jose V. Benavides 
Divya Bhadoria 
Sergio A. Briceno 
Holly L. Brosnahan 
Karen T. Cate 
Fay C. Chinn 
William J. Coupe 
Frances M. Donovan (Langley Research Center Nomination) 
Diana M. Gentry 
Lynda L. Haines 
Pallavi Hegde 
Shu-Chun Y. Lin 
Carlos Malpica 
Jeffrey W. McCandless 
Joshua D. Monk 
Mariano M. Perez 
Nathan J. Piontak (OPS Nomination) 
Vidal Salazar 
David W. Schwenke 
Eric C. Stern 

2023 Exceptional Achievement Medal presented to David W. Schwenke, center, by Center Director Eugene Tu, right, and Deputy Center Director David Korsmeyer, left, in the N201 Auditorium.
NASA photo by Brandon Torres

Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal  
Joseph L. Rios 
Mark M. Weislogel 
Joseph D. Williams 

Exceptional Public Achievement Medal 
Danielle K. Lopez 
Wade M. Spurlock 
Sasha V. Weston 

Exceptional Public Service Medal  
John J. Freitas (OCOMM Nomination) 
Michael J. Hirschberg 

  

2023 Exceptional Public Service Medal presented to John J. Freitas, center, by Center Director Eugene Tu, right, and Deputy Center Director David Korsmeyer, left, in the N201 Auditorium.
NASA photo by Brandon Torres

Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal  
Noah G. Randolph-Flagg 
Ju-Mee Ryoo 

2023 Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal presented to Ju-Mee Ryoo, center, by Center Director Eugene Tu, right, and Deputy Center Director David Korsmeyer, left, in the N201 Auditorium.
NASA photo by Brandon Torres

Exceptional Service Medal  
Soheila Dianati 
Robert A. Duffy 
Shawn A. Engelland 
Thomas P. Greene 
Paul W. Lam 
Bernadette Luna 
Andres Martinez 
Ramsey K. Melugin 
Owen Nishioka 
Kathryn B. Packard 
Andrzej Pohorille (Posthumously) 
Stevan Spremo 
Mark S. Washington 

2023 Exceptional Service Medal presented to Andres Martinez, center, by Center Director Eugene Tu, right, and Deputy Center Director David Korsmeyer, left, in the N201 Auditorium.
NASA photo by Brandon Torres

Exceptional Technology Achievement Medal  
Ruslan Belikov 
Norbert P. Gillem 
Emre Sozer 

Outstanding Leadership Medal  
Michael D. Barnhardt 
William N. Chan 
Marilyn Vasques 

Silver Achievement Medal  
Christine L. Munroe (MSEO – OSBP Nomination) 
Juan L. Torres-Pérez (Langley Research Center Nomination) 

2023 Silver Achievement Medal presented to Christine L. Munroe, center, by Center Director Eugene Tu, right, and Deputy Center Director David Korsmeyer, left, in the N201 Auditorium.
NASA photo by Brandon Torres

Group Achievement Award  
ARCTIC 3 Simulation Team 
Artemis I Char Loss Anomaly Investigation Team 
CapiSorb Visible System Team 
Center Engagement Strategy 
Convective Processes Experiment-AW and -CV 
Design for Maintainability 
DIP Planning and Field Test Team 
Executive Wildfire Roundtable and Showcase 
Flight IACUC 
Long Static Pipe Manufacturing Team 
Moon to Mars SE&I Verification Compliance Tool 
N225 Arc Flash Mishap Investigation Team 
NASA Aeronautics Sample Recovery Helicopter Team 
NASA Ames SLS CFD Team 
Next Generation Life Sciences Data Archive Team 
OSHA VPP Recertification Team 
Planetary Aeolian Laboratory ROSES Proposal Team 
SOFIA Project Closeout Team 
Submesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment (S-MODE) 
The ACCLIP Team 
The DCOTSS Team 
The IMPACTS Team 
The Meteorological Measurement System (MMS) 
UAM eVTOL Vehicle Design and Analysis Team 
UAM Side-by-Side 2 Aeroperformance Test Team 
Western Diversity Time Series Data Collection Team 
Wide Field of View 

Ames Veterans Community Outreach Team Receives Federal Employee of the Year Award

by Maria C. Lopez

As part of the Ames Veterans Committee (AVC) employee resource group, Brad Ensign, and James Schwab, who are both Army veterans, work to support other veterans and our local Afghan and Ukrainian war refugee communities. The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban was especially heart wrenching for Afghan war veterans and created a feeling of discouragement. The war in Ukraine only increased the level of disheartenment for many veterans. Importantly, the Ames Veterans Committee provides a forum to help veterans heal, and just as importantly, help our local community deal with the influx of Afghan and Ukrainian war refugees. 

Federal Employee of the Year Award
The Federal Employee of the Year Award was presented to (left to right) James Schwab, NASA Ames Veteran Committee (AVC); Brad Ensign, NASA AVC by Commander (CDR) Matthew Johns, MPH, Chair of the San Francisco Federal Executive Board and Regional Health Administrator, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
photo by Casey De Shong, FEMA

Through the AVC Community Outreach Team, Brad Ensign coordinated to donate computers from the Ledios company, which is NASA’s Workplace & Collaboration Services to The Jewish Family & Community Services – East Bay and The Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley. Leidos was awarded the Advanced Enterprise Global Information Technology Solutions (AEGIS) contract by NASA. In addition to AEGIS, Leidos provides enterprise IT services to NASA through the NASA End-User Services and Technologies (NEST) contract. Both contracts support NASA’s overall IT operation and mission. Once an end-user computer reaches the device’s end-of-life cycle per the NEST contract, the computers are repurposed for local charity use. The computers are verified to be in good working condition by the Leidos/NEST team. 

Brad Ensign periodically pings the Ames NEST Center Operations manager for available computer donations and the manager verifies that good working computers are available for donation. Brad then contacts various Afghan and Ukrainian war refugee assistance charities to determine their computer needs. Many of these local charities rely on donations and do not have an IT budget. Once a need is determined by local charities, Brad coordinates the number of computers available and a delivery date and time. James Schwab enthusiastically supports this effort and has provided incredible logistical support transporting the computers to the donation location.

Notably in October 2023, Brad and James successfully delivered 25 laptop computers, five desktop computers, and 30 monitors to the Jewish Family & Community Services – East Bay. 

The support for the Jewish Family & Community Services continued and in December of 2023, Brad helped deliver groceries to Afghan war refugees. So far this year, Brad, James, the Ledios company, and the NASA Ames Veterans Committee have donated a total of 40 computers and 40 monitors. These computers are extremely helpful for Afghan and Ukrainian war refugees to write resumes, find jobs, communicate with loved ones left behind, assist with personal tasks, stay informed of world and local news, help their children with schoolwork, and for entertainment. Donated computers are a tremendous resource for local war refugees and this initiative helps NASA Ames Veterans ease feelings of distress by making a difference in their community. 

On May 9, 2024, Brad and James received a Federal Employee of the Year Award from the San Francisco Federal Executive Board (SFFEB) for Volunteer Excellence based on their leadership on creating opportunities for the Ames Veterans Committee to work together during a trying time for veterans while making an ongoing, positive impact in the local community. 

DC-8 Flying Laboratory Makes Farewell Flight Over Ames Prior to Retirement

dc-8flyingoverames
NASA Ames gets an up-close look at the NASA DC-8 Flying Laboratory’s final flyover at 11:17 a.m. PDT on Wednesday, May 15, prior to it’s retirement at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho
NASA photo by Brandon Torres

After nearly 40 years of service to science, on May 15 the Ames community had a chance to bid a final farewell to the DC-8 Flying Laboratory as it made its way to retirement in Idaho. NASA Ames, in coordination with NASA Armstrong, had arranged for a low-pass flyover of Ames Research Center at approximately 11:10 a.m. PDT in honor of the staff, scientists, and engineers who enabled the DC-8 to make such a profound impact on Earth science around the globe.  

The History of Ames and the DC-8

The NASA DC-8 is a world-class flying laboratory that has played a crucial role in answering fundamental questions across nearly every scientific discipline exploring Earth’s interacting systems, and how they are changing. The versatile research aircraft was unprecedented for its ability to carry multiple instruments and thereby take simultaneous active, passive, and in-situ measurements, while also providing room for 42 investigators onboard and boasting an impressive range of more than 5,000 miles.  

Ames has been involved in the science operations of the DC-8 since its arrival at Moffett Field in 1987, including long after the aircraft moved to NASA Armstrong (then NASA Dryden) in the late 1990s. Scientists at Ames continued to lead air quality and climate investigations. The Earth Science Project Office (ESPO) managed complex DC-8 deployments all over the world. And the National Suborbital Research Center (NSRC) provided critical engineering for instrument integration and the upgrading of onboard IT systems and networks, providing global satellite communications to enable real-time science anywhere in the world. 

During its first scientific mission, the DC-8 helped to establish the primary cause of the ozone hole over the southern Pacific. Other early missions focused on atmospheric science and developing new instruments for remote sensing. This work ultimately led to the upcoming  NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission, launching later this year, which will provide new insights into Earth’s processes.  

The DC-8 went on to provide calibration and validation for numerous satellite missions, including the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) series of missions and later for the Aura satellite. The DC-8 also provided critical measurements over both poles as part of Operation IceBridge.

The DC-8 successfully completed its final mission in March of this year, flying atmospheric sampling instruments for the Airborne and Satellite Investigation of Asian Air Quality (ASIA-AQ) campaign. Over the last decade, the DC-8 has also served an important role in training the next generation of Earth scientists and engineers through the Student Airborne Research Program (SARP).

As we bid farewell to this special aircraft, the DC-8 has cleared the runway for the next generation of flying laboratory: the B777. A study performed by the National Academies of Science and Medicine strongly endorsed the need for a NASA flying laboratory to replace the DC-8, resulting in the acquisition of the B777. The team at Ames is working together with NASA Langley and NASA HQ to ensure the B777 will continue to support the science community and exceed the capabilities of the DC-8 with longer range, endurance, and payload capacity: honoring and expanding its legacy for generations of scientists to come.  

Hangar 3 Historical Website is Now Live!

The Historic Preservation Office at NASA Ames’ Hangar 3 historical web site is now live!  Ames Research Center and Planetary Ventures, in consultation with the National Park Service, California State Historic Preservation Office, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation created a website and film that documents the history and features of Hangar 3, provides valuable information for future researchers, and celebrates its local and global impact.

Hangar 3
Hangar 3 at Moffett Field

You also can find additional historical information at NASA Ames and Moffett Field here, including buildings and districts listed in the National Register of Historic Places, information about Hangar 1 and Hangar 3, historical resources associated with the Space Shuttle and NASA Ames, and much more!

In Memoriam …

Fred Martwick, Senior Engineer at Ames, Passes Away

It is with great sadness we share with you the news that our good friend and colleague, Fred G. Martwick, passed away on April 29, 2024, after a brief illness. A Celebration of Life service will be held on Tuesday, June 11, at 1 p.m. at the Calvary Church, 16330 Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos, California 95032.  The event is open to all who wish to attend.  In addition, everyone is invited to a flag ceremony to honor Fred on Tuesday, June 25, at 10:30 a.m. PDT in front of the N-200 flagpole at NASA Ames.

FredMartwick
Fred Martwick hiking in the High Sierras.

Graduating in 1985 with a BS in mechanical engineering from San Jose State, Fred began his career with IBM in south San Jose.  After a few years, he came on-board at NASA Ames as a support service contractor in the Engineering Division. His abilities and personal work ethic were recognized, and he was quickly recruited for civil service (CS) conversion, first becoming an Army CS employee in the early 1990s, and later transitioning to NASA CS.

In the 1990s, Fred supported and then led several successful space sciences projects.  Concurrently, he served as one of the Ames representatives of the Aerospace Mechanisms Symposium organizing committee, consisting of representatives from the other NASA centers and Lockheed Martin. This group organized and sponsored the symposium on a set rotation within the NASA centers. 

In the late 1990s, after an offsite contractor failed to meet NASA’s specifications and timeline, the successful partnership of Fred and Dave Ackard managed the onsite manufacture and assembly of the SOFIA Cavity Door.  In the 2000s, Fred managed the planning, design, and prototype fabrication of a nano-satellite and deployment system in conjunction with Stanford.  Fred then managed the challenging procurement and fabrication of an intricate powered wind tunnel model of the Orion Crew Escape System.  The model and subsequent tests were key elements for the analysis test verification of the Escape System.

In the 2010s, Fred had established an intricate manufacturing documentation control system, creating a contracting “war room” in the mezzanine above the N211 Fabrication Shop.  From here, large amounts of space flight certified animal hardware were planned, contracted, tracked, assembled, and certified for flight to the International Space Station.  Fred’s procurement and documentation control system greatly impressed visiting customers from NASA/JSC management. In 2014, Fred was awarded the coveted Silver Snoopy Award in recognition of his outstanding performance in space flight system development and manufacturing.

By the 2020s, Fred had moved to the Chief Engineers Office in Code D supporting project oversight while keeping an eye on his upcoming retirement.  Fred’s dedication to NASA had pushed his retirement out a few times but was well within sight with the purchase of a beautiful home near Spokane, Washington. He was very involved with the organization Assist International and enjoyed working with the project Caminul Felix in Romania. Additionally, he worked with the Calvary Church ministry with junior high school kids. He was bus driver for the kids at the ministry, taking them to Hume Lake Christian Camp where he was the waterskiing boat driver for the kids as they waterskied behind the boat around the lake.

Fred will be greatly missed by the many people who have worked with him over his 30 plus years of outstanding service.  He will be remembered as a man of unwavering faith, a shrewd negotiator, an excellent project manager and systems engineer capable of diving into and clearly documenting the details while not losing sight of the big picture.  His ability to “get things done” makes his passing a great loss for NASA.

All of Fred’s many friends from his NASA family are welcome to attend the memorial service and flag ceremony.