Press Release

Four NASA Glenn Research Teams Earn R&D 100 Awards

By SpaceRef Editor
November 10, 2010
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CLEVELAND — R&D Magazine editors have recognized the innovative technology of four research teams at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. An award banquet for the winners will be held Nov. 11 in Orlando, Fla.

The annual R&D 100 awards recognize the 100 most technologically significant products and innovations introduced over the past year. The technologies demonstrated in this worldwide competition are from academia, government and industry.

The four Glenn award winning innovations are:

The GATR Inflatable Satellite Communications System, developed by GATR Technologies Inc., and further tested and refined through a partnership with NASA’s Glenn Research Center, is the first Federal Communications Commission-certified inflatable antenna for ground-based applications. GATR’s unique inflatable design enables deployment in as few as two airline checkable cases, simplifying transportation and set-up, and making it ideal for first-in deployments, remote applications and contingency scenarios. As an example, GATR supplied antennas, air-time, and personnel in support of the recent Haiti earthquake recovery efforts. The antennas were the first high-bandwidth communication system in operation. Users are able to quickly establish a satellite link and transmit and receive secure and nonsecure data, voice and video. Members of the team are Bob Romanofsky, Glenn; Kevin Lambert, QinetiQ North America; and Paul Gierow, of GATR Technologies.

The low plasticity burnishing process increases the surface cracking resistance of a turbine engine’s metal components. The process produces a deep layer of compressive residual stress near the surface that increases fatigue life of metallic materials and their ability to withstand impacts at high temperatures approaching 800 degrees Celsius or 1470 degrees Fahrenheit.

It has been shown to produce superior results compared to those from conventional shot peening; and produces comparable results to those from laser shock peening at much lower cost. The technology can extend the life of aging aircraft and substantially reduce the overall cost of ownership, which could be used for commercial and military purposes. Team members include Perry Mason and Doug Hornbach, Lambda Technologies; Pete Kantzos, Honeywell; and Ignacy “Jack” Telesman and Tim Gabb, Glenn.

The Spring Tire design is a simple network of coiled wires designed to safely and efficiently carry vehicles over rough terrain, whether on Earth, another planet or a lunar surface. The tire contains load-bearing helical springs, requires no air or rubber, uniquely contours to the terrain surface while consuming less energy than other tires and offers high resiliency even when damaged. It can be used in the harsh temperature extremes of space and as a safer alternative for military and off-road vehicles in which traditional pneumatic tires can fail if hit by bullets or driven over sharp terrain. The tire is simple to manufacture because the helical springs are simply screwed together. Team members are Vivake Asnani, Glenn; and Jim Benzing and Jim Kish, Goodyear.

The Thin Film Ferroelectric High Resolution Scanning Reflectarray Antenna uses innovative phase shifter technology to improve performance and reduce cost of electronically steerable phased arrays. The system offers functionality comparable to conventional phased array antennas while increasing efficiency and decreasing cost through simpler device fabrication and assembly techniques. This new technology could enhance space exploration to other planets, can improve radar detection of orbital debris and can improve rendezvous and docking maneuvers of spacecraft. It also has terrestrial applications, such as developing collision avoidance radar systems for cars on Earth. Glenn has patented this technology. Team members include Felix Miranda, Bob Romanofsky, Elizabeth McQuaid, Nicholas Varaljay, Glenn; and Frederick Van Keuls, Ohio Aerospace Institute.

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For more information on the 2010 R&D 100 awards, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.