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NASA Flight Opportunities Program PI Spotlight: Kevin Crosby

27 Nov 2020, 12:52 UTC
NASA Flight Opportunities Program PI Spotlight: Kevin Crosby
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Kevin Crosby during a microgravity flight on G-FORCE ONE airplane.

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — With a half-dozen Flight Opportunities campaigns under his belt (including one currently underway — see Flights section above), Carthage College professor Kevin Crosby understands the value of the program. Through flight testing, he has been able to raise the technology readiness level (TRL) of his slosh control and propellant gauging technologies for spacecraft.

As head of the school’s Space Sciences program, Crosby blends his development of these technologies with powerful learning opportunities for his students. We spoke with Crosby about what he has learned during his years of flight testing and how those lessons apply to both students and the research community as a whole.

How do you address some of the key challenges of suborbital flight testing?

There are a lot of unknowns and counter-intuitive forces at play in zero gravity, which requires creative problem solving and planning for contingencies. I recommend three things. First, communication is essential. My teams do daily check-ins and document exchanges. Communicate constantly with the team and expect them to communicate with you. Second, build in a 25% schedule margin to accommodate team members’ other priorities. This ...

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