National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Senior Technologists

Senior technologist is the highest rank you can achieve within NASA without having management duties. To achieve this status, scientists or engineers significantly contributed to technological advances, authored papers that are widely used and cited, received honors from major professional organizations for their accomplishments and contributions and served as advisors or consultants on scientific and technological problems that extend beyond their specialties.

Dr. Isaiah M. BlanksonDr. Isaiah M. Blankson
Specialty: Hypersonics/Aerodynamics and Propulsion
Dr. Blankson provides advice and guidance to NASA Glenn administration, NASA center program managers, and other government agencies in his areas of expertise. Specialty areas include air-breathing hypersonic aerodynamics and propulsion, plasmas and electromagnetic interactions in gas dynamics, magnetic levitation systems, and advanced millimeter-wave imaging technologies for aviation safety and homeland security. In addition, as part of NASA’s Fundamental Aeronautics Program, has formulated and instituted a research program in plasma and MHD interactions in aerodynamics and propulsion.

Christopher DellaCorteDr. Christopher DellaCorte
Specialty: Tribology and Rotating Machinery
Dr. DellaCorte applies mechanism and tribology expertise to lead complex root cause failure investigations with a successful, proven track record. Examples include deciphering the International Space Station (ISS) Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ) failure mechanism, guiding the rotordynamic analyses of the Mars Science Laboratory Surface Analysis on Mars vacuum pump bearing failures. He leads a research team developing nickel-titanium based corrosion immune and shockproof bearings and gears to help avoid future tribology problems in aerospace systems.

Dr. Marvin E. GoldsteinDr. Marvin E. Goldstein
Specialty: Aeronautics/Unsteady Fluid Mechanics/Turbulence
Dr. Goldstein served as the chief scientist at the NASA Glenn Research Center from 1980 to 2004. His technical accomplishments include a long list of “firsts,” including the development of an explanation for boundary layer receptivity to free stream disturbances, a rational analysis of oblique wave model interactions in shear layers, the theory for the so-called Klebanoff modes that are observed in boundary layers at high to moderate levels of free steam turbulence levels and an analytical solution for the problem of flutter in a cascade with strong in passage shock waves

Glen HorvatGlen M. Horvat
Mr. Glen Horvat currently serves as the chief engineer for Space Flight Development at the Glenn Research Center. In 1989 Mr. Horvat began work at the Glenn Research Center as a mission design team lead for the Launch Services program, working on the Cassini launch on Titan IV and the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite mission launched on STS-51. Mr. Horvat also led numerous mission application studies for advanced space power and propulsion technologies. In the following years from 2001 to 2008 Mr. Horvat served as the Mission Analysis branch chief where he led the development of GRC’s collaborative conceptual mission design center. In 2008, Mr. Horvat became Glenn Research Center chief engineer for Space Flight Development providing engineering leadership for GRC space flight projects. Mr. Horvat received his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan and is a recipient of NASA’s Outstanding Leadership and Exceptional Service Medals and the astronaut’s “Silver Snoopy” Award.

Robert C. HendricksRobert C. Hendricks
Specialty: Seals/Fuels/Fluid Dynamics
Mr. Hendricks successful operation of the liquid oxygen (LOX) ammonia manned rated rocket engine turned to providing critical heat transfer design data for fluid hydrogen, now used in all LOX-hydrogen engines including the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) and crew and cargo vehicle (J2 X,S) engines. For this work he received the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Research. Work with cryogens hydrogen and oxygen led to the development of widely used thermo physical property codes GASP and WASP. Throughout the period, this work provided fundamental understanding to boiling, two-phase flows, supercritical and near-critical fluid behavior.

Michael J. PattersonMichael J. Patterson
Specialty: Electric Thrusters & Propulsion Systems, Cathode & Plasma Sources, Plasma Physics
Mr. Patterson has worked for over 25 years in the areas of electric propulsion thrusters and systems, and in development of cathodes and plasma sources for spaceflight and ground-based applications. His broad technical knowledge of propulsion system technologies and ability to implement and direct complex programs has lead to flight applications – from conception to on-orbit operations. His projects have included development of the Deep Space 1 thruster, the development of cathode technology for the International Space Station plasma contactor charge-control system, and development of the Next Generation Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) ion propulsion system.

Dr. Louis A. PovinelliDr. Louis A. Povinelli
Specialty: Propulsion Systems
Dr.Povinelli’s professional accomplishments have contributed to the advancement of aeronautics and astronautics in several areas including air breathing propulsion, scramjet propulsion, rocket propulsion and pulse detonation engines. His activities at NASA Glenn involved research on turbine aerodynamics, inlets, diffusers, mixers and nozzles, turbomachinery, CFD validation, scramjet fuel injection, hypersonic propulsion systems and rocket combustion instability and real gas effects in pulse detonation cycles.

Dr. Robert R. RomanofskyDr. Bob Romanofsky
Specialty: Microwave Communication and Electromagnetics
Dr. Romanofsky is an internationally recognized subject matter expert in microwave communications and electromagnetics — especially antennas, cryogenic/superconducting electronics, and microwave applications of ferroelectric materials. His work emphasizes materials engineering and microwave theory. He was detailed to NASA Headquarters and the Pentagon’s National Security Space Office, and he also served a three month collateral assignment with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He was principal investigator for the Reflectarray Critical Components Space Experiment (STS-134), spearheaded the large deployable antenna effort, and is currently working on the Integrated Radio Optical Communications and the Superconducting Quantum Interference Filter Receiver projects.

Dr. James L. SmialekDr. James L. Smialek
Specialty: High Temperature Oxidation and Coatings
Since 1968, Dr. Smialek, has worked to advance the science and development of oxidation resistant, high temperature materials for aircraft engine components. His innovative research regarding high temperature oxidation mechanisms has been widely recognized and adopted: e.g., producing ultra- low sulfur levels in single crystal superalloys, demonstrating hot corrosion and scale volatility reactions for ceramic matrix composites, and modeling cyclic oxidation kinetic behavior.

James SoederJames F. Soeder
Specialty: Power Management and Distribution
Mr. Soeder serves as chief technologist for intelligent modular power systems in support of future human space exploration. Previously he served as co-chair for Constellation’s Power Systems Integration Group (SIG) supporting NASA’s effort to return to the Moon. Prior to that assignment, he was chief of the Power Systems Development Branch, responsible for directing advanced power management and distribution technology development in the areas of advanced components, power systems simulation, power control systems and flywheel technology for aerospace systems. Earlier he was instrumental in the development of the power system and its verification strategy for the International Space Station.

Dr. Bruce M. SteinetzDr. Bruce M. Steinetz
Specialty: Seals for Extreme Environments
Dr. Steinetz is recognized as the agency expert on seal technology and tribology for extreme environments found in both aeronautic and space applications. He developed and patented braided carbon fiber rope thermal barrier for Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster Nozzle to prevent hot (5500 ˚F) gas effects on nozzle joint Viton O-rings. Flown four times on Atlas V launch vehicle, including the recent Pluto Horizons Mission.