RoundupReads Technologists Supporting Artemis: Adam Sidor

Technologists Supporting Artemis: Adam Sidor

by Kathryn Mays | 2020-12-14

The Exploration Technology Office advances human space exploration through technology development, technology transfer, and partnership development. They identify agency priorities and engage with NASA Johnson Space Center’s technical community to execute on projects. This series features technologists at Johnson and the projects they are working on that will help us get to the Moon and Mars!

Get to know more about Adam Sidor, below.

Sidor completed his undergraduate degree (2008) at Cornell University in mechanical and aerospace engineering. He started working as a mechanical engineer at Garmin, which develops GPS devices. Looking for his next challenge, Sidor was accepted at Georgia Tech, where he obtained his master’s (2014) and doctorate (2019) in aerospace engineering. His doctoral thesis focused on Thermal Protection Systems, or TPS, manufacturing. Sidnor was awarded a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship to pursue his thesis research, which took him on several extended visits to NASA’s Ames Research Center. He was later selected as a Pathways intern in the Materials and Processes Branch at NASA’s Johnson Space Center during the spring/summer of 2019. Sidor was fortunate to join the ES3 team full-time last fall. Now, Sidor currently works as an aerospace technologist in the Thermal Design Branch, with a focus on TPS design and manufacturing.

ECI Project
The focus of the Additive Manufacturing (AM) TPS Early Career Initiative (ECI) project is to advance NASA’s heat shield manufacturing capability. Current methods are very manual, hands-on, and labor-intensive. With an AM process, NASA will be able to speed up production and reduce costs. Furthermore, the heat shield is directly deposited onto the structure during fabrication, simplifying integration. AM allows technologists to change material composition on the fly and grade the material through its thickness. By varying the material composition — like high density on the surface and low density in depth — the overall mass of the heat shield may be reduced compared to a traditional, single-composition heat shield.

Artemis Tech

This ECI project specifically addresses technologies for automating the manufacturing of heat shields for entry into planetary atmospheres and for protecting spacecraft from engine plume impingement. As humans establish a presence on the Moon, there will be a need to return materials to Earth. These new spacecraft will need heat shields. Furthermore, as NASA prepares to send humans to Mars, there will be a need for large spacecraft to enter the Martian atmosphere and land crew and cargo safely. This project can enable the efficient fabrication of larger heat shields — and through automated techniques.

Intern Advice
“Learn to be an effective communicator, which may look different for you than someone else. Technical acumen can only get you so far. You need to be able to communicate the story of your work — not just what you’re doing, but why,” Sidor says.

Adam Sinor is an aerospace technologist in the Thermal Design Branch at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Image courtesy of Adam Sidor.