Judges

 

Please click images for full judge bios.

 
 
W. Keith Belvin
Dr. Keith Belvin
NASA Langley Research Center


Dr. Belvin, an internationally recognized expert in structural design and analysis, is a highly creative engineer, specializing in the areas of large space structures, structural dynamics, flexible structure control, and space vehicles structures and mechanisms design. He pioneered methods for integrating controls and structures disciplines for the design of efficient, high performance space platforms.

His creativity in testing and analysis of many different space structure configurations is highly regarded in NASA and industry. For example, Dr. Belvin’s breakthrough work in antenna surface shape control is still utilized by industry for space-based mesh communication antennas prior to launch. Dr. Belvin also led the development of a novel method for ground test validation of solar sails where none previously existed.

He is an advocate of modular space systems design and supports development of in-space assembly (iSA), in-space manufacturing (iSM) and in-space servicing (iSS) capabilities. With over 35 years experience in space systems development, he currently serves as the Principal Technologist in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) for structures, materials, and nanotechnology and provides strategic direction for research and development.

Keith Belvin
NASA Headquarters

Anthony Calomino
Dr. Anthony Calomino
NASA Langley Research Center


Dr. Anthony Calomino is a materials and structures research engineer with the NASA Langley Research Center and has worked for NASA since 1985. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Structural and Engineering Mechanics, and obtained a doctorate in Materials Science from Northwestern University. His primary research is in durability and damage modeling for high temperature materials and composites including metallic super alloys, ceramic matrix composites, ablators, and refractory soft goods. Dr. Calomino currently serves as the NASA Materials technical lead for Entry Systems Modeling project and the Deputy Principal Investigator for Flexible Systems Development under NASA’s Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) project.

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Anthony Calomino
NASA Langley Research Center

 
Kenneth Cheung
Kenneth "Kenny" C. Cheung
NASA Ames Research Center


Dr. Kenny C. Cheung serves as the technical lead on advanced materials and manufacturing. As a member of the Ames Center Chief Technologist (CCT) staff, he helps to identify, define, develop and integrate new and emerging technologies for application to Agency and national goals.

Kenny directs the Ames Research Center (ARC) Coded Structures Laboratory (CSL), which conducts interdisciplinary research at the intersection of design, control theory, material science, mechanical engineering, and aeronautical engineering. Current CSL work focuses on applying building-block based (digital) materials and algorithms to aeronautical and space applications. This includes shape morphing aircraft, under the Mission Adaptive Digital Composite Aerostructures Technologies (MADCAT) project (Co-Lead with Sean S. Swei) and large scale long duration space system infrastructure. Recent project successes include free flight testing of a span-wise twist morphing wing aircraft following wind tunnel experiments and sounding rocket flight testing of a modular reconfigurable small satellite system, also called OuroboroSat. Please see his current list of publications for more details.

Before joining NASA, Kenny received his Ph.D. from the Center for Bits and Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he showed that digital material strategies can be used to make new kinds of materials (strong and light weight), and new kinds of robots (like transformers). His M.S. work at the MIT Media Lab was on anonymized empirical models of human behavior using mobile devices, and prior work includes research on natural mechanical systems (plant biomechanics) and the science of the human environmental response (environmental psychology). Kenny has numerous papers and patents on topics ranging from high performance composite material manufacturing systems to synthetic protein folding algorithms, surgical devices, and indoor mobile device location systems. He's particularly fond of applying rapid prototyping to test ideas that can change the status quo in design, based on physical first-principles analyses.

Kenny has also been a part of the fab lab network for many years; fab labs are a global grassroots community-driven technology education effort that is based on the notion that anyone, anywhere (regardless of prior education) has the ability to design and produce their own technological solutions. He has taught others to install and tune rapid prototyping equipment in labs on almost every continent, and given workshops on community wireless networking (internet across borders), rapid prototyping machines that make rapid prototyping machines, environmentally friendly fiber composite materials, and CNC boat, bicycle, and furniture design.

Kenneth Cheung
NASA Ames Research Center

Robert Hodson
Dr. Robert Hodson
NASA Langley Research Center


Dr. Robert Hodson is the Deputy Program Manager for the Game Changing Development (GCD) Program at NASA Langley Research Center. GCD has approximately 30 technology projects in various stages to develop disruptive technologies for NASA’s future missions to Mars and beyond.

Dr. Hodson has nearly 35 years of experience as an engineer, of which over 25 have been since completion of his Ph.D. in Computer and Information Science from The Florida State University, where his research focused on real-time expert systems computer architecture. Dr. Hodson has authored or co-authored over 40 publications including technical papers, articles, and one book. Many of the papers deal with engineering and research issues related to space electronics design and computing architectures.

Since joining NASA in 2002, Dr. Hodson has served in several capacities. He recently served as the Deputy Chief Engineer for NASA Langley Research Center and assumed responsibilities of the Center Chief Engineer during a six-month vacancy. He was the Chief Engineer for the Electronics Systems Branch at Langley responsible for technical oversight and review of multiple new technology and flight projects. He was a core member of the NESC’s Super Problem Resolution Team for Power and Avionics where he was part of the Hubble Space Telescope health assessment team and other assessment activities. He served as the Deputy Chairman of the Avionics Steering Committee and has been an advocate for avionics technology, leading the committee’s avionics road-mapping efforts. Dr. Hodson was the principal investigator on the Reconfigurable Scalable Computing for Space project; an international collaboration to enable advanced processing capabilities for future missions. He also served as the C&DH subsystem lead on the Crew Excursion Vehicle Smart Buyer team. Dr. Hodson was the Constellation Program Avionics Discipline Lead and worked with multiple NASA centers and organizations to help lead the program through multiple successful milestone reviews. In this role he also led multiple risk assessments and technical studies for the program including leading the Constellation Common Avionics initiative and the Heavy Lift Vehicle Computing Architecture study.

Prior to working at NASA, Dr. Hodson was an associate professor of computer engineering and Director of the Computer Engineering program at Christopher Newport University where he worked for 13 years. While working at CNU he performed research with NASA, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy.

Dr. Hodson has received numerous individual and group awards for outstanding performance and achievements. Among his awards are: The Florida State Dissertation Fellowship Award, the NASA Langley Center Team Award, the NESC Group Achievement Award, the One NASA Peer Award, and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.

In addition to his Ph.D., Dr. Hodson holds a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Central Florida and a dual Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Connecticut.

Robert Hodson
NASA Langley Research Center

Erik Komendera
Dr. Erik Komendera
NASA Langley Research Center


Dr. Erik Komendera is a roboticist at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. He earned his MS ('12) and PhD ('14) in Computer Science at the Correll Lab at the University of Colorado, and earned a BSE in Aerospace Engineering ('07) at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Komendera’s current research focuses on autonomous assembly of structures in space, with a special focus on state estimation and machine learning techniques to identify and overcome errors in the assembly process. As a NASA Space Technology Research Fellow, he published results about his Intelligent Precision Jigging Robot (IPJR) paradigm in journals such as the International Journal of Robotics Research, and conferences such as the International Symposium on Experimental Robotics. He currently serves as IPJR task lead on the joint NASA NASA/Orbital ATK/NRL Tipping Point project titled “Commercial Infrastructure for Robotic Assembly and Servicing” (CIRAS). In addition, he is Principal Investigator for a LaRC Center Innovation Fund / Internal Research and Development award to investigate machine learning methods for ensuring robust assembly and repair of solar array modules, and is a key member of the “Robotic Assembly of Modular Space Exploration Systems” incubator effort. Dr. Komendera enjoys mentoring interns, believing that hands-on experience at a high level of responsibility and involvement complements their education, and gives them valuable experience in a research setting.

Erik Komendera
NASA Langley Research Center

David McGowan
David McGowan
NASA Langley Research Center


David McGowan is currently the Chief Engineer for NASA Langley Research Center. As the center’s Chief Engineer, McGowan provides senior-level leadership for program and project engineering activities at the Center to insure the technical excellence required to meet the goals and objectives for all NASA Mission Directorates.

Prior to this role, McGowan served as the Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Principal Technologist for Lightweight Structures, Materials & Mechanical Systems. His term in this role was completed as a detail assignment from his position as the Deputy Director for Langley’s Space Technology and Exploration Directorate. McGowan has also completed a detail assignment to NASA Headquarters (HQ) as a Senior Technologist in the Office of the Chief Technologist and Space Technology Program (OCT/STP) Program Management & Integration Office. Prior to this assignment, he served as the Chief Engineer of the Orion Launch Abort System project where he was the technical lead for the LAS engineering team as they successfully completed the Pad Abort 1 flight test as well as the Preliminary Design Review for the production LAS design. Before joining the LAS project, McGowan held supervisory positions in the Engineering and Research Directorates at Langley Research Center. McGowan has received numerous awards, most notably the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal and the Silver Snoopy Award for his work on the Launch Abort System.

McGowan began his career at LaRC as a co-operative education student in January 1986, and began full time as a research engineer in June 1989. During his tenure as a researcher, he contributed to aerospace systems development by conducting & leading research, technology, and development work as a technical team lead or co-lead on topic areas including structural concepts, damage tolerance, structural mechanics, active shape change, and inflatable rigidizable structures. He holds a Master’s Degree in Engineering Mechanics and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Old Dominion University.

David McGowan
NASA Langley Research Center

LaNetra Tate
Dr. LaNetra Tate
NASA Headquarters


Dr. LaNetra Tate joined NASA Kennedy Space Center in October of 2005. Dr. Tate currently works at NASA HQ within the Space Technology Mission Directorate as the Program Executive for the Game Changing Development Program. Prior to this role, Dr. Tate served as the STMD Advanced Manufacturing and Nanotechnology Principal Technologist. Prior to that position, she served as the Composites Lead in the Materials Science Division at Kennedy Space Center as well as the composite repair lead on the multi-center efforts, Composites for Exploration and Composite Cryotank projects. Dr. Tate completed a temporary assignment at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL in support of the Advanced Composites Technologies project where she worked composite manufacturing and repair processes. Her areas of expertise include polymer matrix nanocomposites and composites, advanced manufacturing concepts and trends, and composite repair for aerospace systems.

Dr. Tate also served as the NASA STMD representative to the National Manufacturing Initiative in which she interacts with other government agencies, including Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and National Economic Council (NEC).

Dr. Tate has received numerous awards, including the 2016 NASA Commercial Invention of the Year Award and the 2014 R&D 100 Award, both for work done at the Kennedy Space Center in the area of Color Changing Materials for Hydrogen Detection. Dr. Tate has also received the Exceptional Performance Award (2015, NASA HQ). Dr. Tate was profiled on the cover of USF Magazine (Nanotechnology: Take a Look at the Power of Small) for her work in carbon nanotube based composites. Dr. Tate holds 7 patents, 3 published patent applications, & 19 publications.

LaNetra Tate
NASA Headquarters

John Vickers
John Vickers
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center


John Vickers is currently the NASA principal technologist in the area of advanced manufacturing. He also serves as the Associate Director of the Materials and Processes Laboratory at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and as the Manager of the NASA National Center for Advanced Manufacturing.

As principal technologist, he leads the nationwide NASA team to develop advanced manufacturing technology strategies to achieve the goals of NASA’s missions. In this role he represents the Agency supporting the President’s National Manufacturing Initiative and the Interagency Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office, which includes participation by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies. He also he leads the NASA Technology Roadmap effort for “Materials, Structures, Mechanisms and Manufacturing.”

John Vickers
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center