News / USA

NASA Contractor Shows New Technology

TEXT SIZE - +
Greg Flakus

Despite the daunting debt problems faced by the U.S. government, many federal operations, including the Defense Department and the space agency, NASA, need the latest technology to carry out their missions.  That technology is developed and sold to the government by private contract companies like the Lockheed Martin corporation, which recently brought some of its latest innovations to the Johnson Space Center in Houston for an event called NexTech.  
A robot, called Sprockit, roamed around the exhibit hall, entertaining visitors and directing them to some of the more serious presentations...

Paul Monday is a Lockheed Martin engineer who helps develop such systems.

“When you turn your head, the view updates, too, as you turn your head," said Martin. "So it is a smooth view and it feels like you are looking at that world in Afghanistan.”

Monday says the military can use this for medical testing: to identify physical problems before a soldier is deployed to the much rougher, real terrain.

For 26-year-old Chris Spence, who grew up playing video games, these systems are a delight.

“Of course, there is work involved, but a platform like this makes it a lot of fun," he said.

The Lockheed Martin system demonstrator says this program is adaptable to all kinds of training situations.

“This display is showing a ground vehicle, but the capability of the software allows us to go anywhere, to train in a multitude of different domains," said Spence.

But these virtual reality systems go beyond training, Pacale Rondot of Lockheed Martin's Human Immersive Lab explains.

“You see behind me this model who is driving an avatar in the virtual world," said Rondot. "It is performing a task to validate maintenance of the aircraft.”

She says this system helps engineers check for flaws in design before an aircraft is built.

“We are reducing the overall cost of our product by making sure we are doing things right, right at the beginning, before we start cutting any metal," she said.

Not everything on display was virtual.  This exoskeleton, called HULC, allows a person to carry more than 100 kilograms with ease.

Former astronaut Rick Hieb, who is now a Lockheed Martin vice president, explains how it works.

“It is an exoskeleton, powered," said Hieb. "It has a battery system in the back, motors and hydraulics, and it actually senses his motions and then tries to predict and help.”

NASA's ambitious plans for the coming decades include the use of big rockets to fly astronauts to an asteroid, something NexTech participants were able to simulate in this mock space craft cockpit.

But Rick Hieb says NASA also needs a lot of other technology applications, and adapting some that have already been used by the military or private sector makes sense.

“As we look at the future, we are looking at a lot of smaller high-technology development activities and the focus is on how we use this technology to accomplish NASA's mission more cheaply, faster, in the future," he said.

And Hieb says the reality of shrinking federal budgets makes the search for cost efficiency even more urgent.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid