Houston, we have some visitors - NASA lands at IfM
Mike Gregory and John Vickers
It may be the 40th anniversary of the US moon landings, but representatives from NASA found a little closer to home when they visited the Institute for Manufacturing.
John Vickers, Manager from the space agency's National Center for Advanced Manufacturing (NCAM), is in Britain as part of a nationwide tour of UK manufacturers and research centres.
Based at the Marshall Space Flight Center, NCAM carries out research and development into NASA's aerospace manufacturing requirements for space flight. It is now working on the replacement for the soon to be retired Space Shuttle, which will make its last flight later this year.
NASA's Ares I launch vehicle will launch the Orion crew exploration vehicle for missions to the International Space Station and the Moon. Among the major contractors for this vehicle is Boeing, a current research funder of the Institute's Distributed Automation and Information Laboratory (DIAL). "We think there are some significant synergies between this project and our Aerospace ID programme." said Andy Shaw, DIAL Business Manager. "We certainly have expertise both Universities could exploit on this project. It would be great to collaborate."
The NASA executive was joined on the visit by Dr Bill Killingsworth and colleagues from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Dr Killingsworth carries out supply chain research on behalf of the space exploration agency.
The group wanted to learn more about DIAL’s research work on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and its role in tracking aviation parts and other supply chain applications.
The visit also included a stop at the Centre for Industrial Photonics to see some of the work on advanced manufacturing processes.
While in the UK, the group have also visited Rolls Royce, the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing in Sheffield and Cambridge-based TWI.