Recognizing Goddard’s Top Performers
Goddard technologists Keith Gendreau, Zaven Arzoumanian, and their team were named FY11’s “IRAD Innovators of the Year.” We bestow the award annually on technologists who exemplify the best in R&D. The selection committee chose the team because of its sustained effort developing innovative solutions for navigating in deep space using pulsars, transmitting data via X-rays, and gathering first-of-a-kind measurements to better understand the interior composition of neutron stars.
Principal Investigator Keith Gendreau (right) and Zaven Arzoumanian (left) received this year’s “IRAD Innovator of the Year” award for work on a three-in-one instrument. Goddard Deputy Director Christyl Johnson (center) was on hand for the awards ceremony at the annual IRAD Poster Session on Dec. 1, 2011.
The team’s technology-development effort has reaped rewards. The NASA Science Mission Directorate recently awarded the group $250,000 to further advance the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) concept, which would place an X-ray timing instrument on the International Space Station to explore the exotic states of matter within neutron stars and reveal their interior and surface compositions.
NICER Also Advances Technology
The same mission concept, however, also advances technology. With the NICER instrument, equipped with 56 state-of-the-art X-ray telescopes, Gendreau and Arzoumanian hope to demonstrate two potentially groundbreaking navigation and communications technologies. In particular, this year’s Innovators of the Year hope to demonstrate pulsar-based navigation and the world’s first X-ray communication system in space, which has the potential to provide high data rates at low power over vast distances. The NICER three-in-one instrument truly exemplifies crosscutting capabilities so important to NASA.
In addition to Gendreau and Arzoumanian, team members include Michael Blau, David Fickau, John Gaebler, Monther Hasouneh, Clara Hollenhorst, Lalit Jalota, Patrick Jordan, Steven Kenyon, Sridhar Manthripragada, Alissa Mitchell, Jason Mitchell, Michael Moreau, Nicholas Spartana, and Luke Winternitz.
The Office of the Chief Technologist is involved in a variety of projects, missions, and technologies.