NASA Selects Innovation Ambassadors



NASA’s Innovative Partnerships Program, in coordination with the agency’s Office of the Chief Engineer and Office of Human Capital Management, has announced the selection of the 2009 Innovation Ambassadors.

The Innovation Ambassador program allows some of NASA’s most talented scientists and engineers to work at several of America’s leading innovative external research and development organizations.

NASA’s inaugural group of ambassadors is initiating the planned annual program targeting opportunities to create NASA partnerships and new innovation sources outside of the traditional aerospace field. During assignments of up to one year, the NASA ambassadors will share their own expertise while learning about innovative products, processes and business models. After returning to NASA, the ambassador may share new ideas with co-workers and implement innovations within their organizations.

The program provides a unique training experience for the employee, an opportunity for infusion of new ideas into NASA, and a chance for external organizations to learn more about the agency and potentially create new partnerships.

The ambassadors and their assignments are:

– Robert McCann from NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., will work with the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in Palo Alto, Calif., and look at how artificial intelligence can be applied to systems health management and human/machine teaming.

– Eric Darcy from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will work with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., to develop mathematical models for lithium-ion battery performance.

– Lawrence Hilliard from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., will work with Primary Simulation, Inc. of Silver Spring, Md., on a project to apply their “laser ball” technology to interactive educational tools.

– Kelly Snook, also from Goddard, already has begun her ambassador assignment with a sponsorship by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. She is working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab in Cambridge, Mass., on the use of sound as a means of visualizing and analyzing scientific data.

For more information on the Innovation Ambassadors program, visit: