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Export and licensing explained

SwRI is sponsoring a seminar on "Export and Licensing Requirements for Space-Based Programs" on Mar. 19-20 in San Antonio.

Complying with export control regulations -- which govern technologies that cannot be released to foreign entities without approval or license from the U.S. government -- can be challenging and perplexing as they relate to space-based research and instrumentation.

This seminar will provide comprehensive export control information from representatives of the appropriate government agencies, as well as insights from seasoned legal practitioners. Attendees will learn which export restrictions apply to space programs, which licenses are required, and what exceptions and exemptions apply to help ensure compliance with U.S. export laws. Of particular emphasis will be regulations and restrictions governing colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning that participate in space-related activities.

Panel members will include Robert L. "Bob" Tucker Jr., director of Assessments and Technology at NASA Headquarters, Washington, and representatives from the Defense Department, State Department (Office of Defense Trade Control), Commerce Department (Bureau of Export Administration) and other government agencies.

Contact Debbie Shaffer at (210) 522-6689 or

Gibson awarded medal

William C. Gibson, assistant vice president of the SwRI Space Science and Engineering Division, has been awarded the NASA Public Service Medal, the highest level of award available to a non-NASA employee.

The NASA medal honors Gibson's successful management of the $150 million Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) spacecraft program. IMAGE, the world's first "space weather" satellite, captures the once invisible interactions between the solar wind and the Earth's magnetosphere. Gibson also has been extensively involved in supporting the NASA Explorers Project Office in the organization and execution of mission reviews for the last two years, a fact that contributed to the award.

Gibson has been an SwRI employee since early 1978. Since that time, he has led or contributed to the successful development of space flight instrumentation and avionics for more than 40 missions. His areas of technical expertise are spacecraft control and telemetry systems.

For more information, contact Maria Stothoff.

Coatings conference scheduled

SwRI is sponsoring the Aerospace Coatings Removal and Coatings Conference May 6-9, 2002, at the Adams Mark Hotel in Daytona Beach, Fla.

The annual conference typically attracts 200 to 300 military and commercial aircraft fleet maintenance and operations personnel, researchers and original equipment manufacturers. The conference includes technical presentations, exhibits and other events.

For the upcoming conference, SwRI will solicit more presentations from the commercial airlines industry to provide additional sources of information and to fulfill the requests of last year's attendees, said Chuck Cundiff, conference organizer at SwRI.

"The conference provides a forum for those trying to work on innovative solutions for current issues in the areas of aerospace coatings removals and coatings," said Cundiff, an SwRI senior research technologist and technical lead for the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center Depaint Test Center operations.

"Compliance with federal and state environmental regulations is an important challenge in this field," he said. The coatings removal and coatings industry must meet stringent requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency while trying to operate cost effectively.

SwRI, the U.S. Air Force Corrosion Prevention and Control Office and the U.S. Air Force Coatings Technology Integration Office will select technical presentations. Previous topics ranged from technology success stories to the impact of environmental regulations to the assessment of current and future technology needs.

SwRI has extensive experience in the evaluation of aircraft coatings and paints, application and removal techniques and paint testing. This is the second year the nonprofit research and development organization has hosted the conference.

More information is available at

Ceres curiosities

An international team led by scientists at SwRI has discovered some curious properties of the largest asteroid, Ceres. The astronomers observed Ceres with the Hubble Space Telescope at ultraviolet wavelengths using a resolution higher than previously attained. The resulting images are the first to resolve detail on the surface of Ceres and show features as small as 50 kilometers across.

Led by Principal Investigator Dr. Alan Stern of SwRI, the team detected a dark spot on the surface of Ceres, which it nicknamed "Piazzi" in honor of the discoverer of Ceres. "Although we can't determine the nature of the spot with these data, whether it is an area of different coloration or possibly a crater from an impact by another asteroid, it is pretty big," said Dr. Joel Parker, also of SwRI, who led the team in the analysis of the images. "The Piazzi feature has a diameter of about 250 kilometers, which is more than a quarter the size of Ceres. If it resulted from an impact, the object that hit Ceres would have been about 25 kilometers across. It must have really shaken things up."

The high-resolution images allowed the team to refine measurements of Ceres. Although Ceres is the largest known asteroid -- estimated to contain more than one-third of the total mass of all other asteroids combined -- researchers still dispute its size, even after 200 years of observations. The new HST measurements indicate that the asteroid is slightly flattened, with a diameter ranging from 930 to 970 kilometers. Spinning objects can have a flattened or "squashed" shape depending on how big they are, how fast they spin, and what kind of material they are made of. However, the amount of flattening seen on Ceres is more than expected and may indicate that the inner structure is not as homogeneous as previously assumed.

"These results are very tantalizing," Stern said. "What we need to be definitive are observations with better resolution and frequent enough to follow Ceres through a nine-hour rotation period to track surface features. This 'movie' would allow us to finally map the surface of Ceres and figure out what the Piazzi feature is." The team has already proposed such an experiment with a new instrument to be installed on HST next year.

The analysis of the Ceres images will be published in the January 2002 issue of The Astronomical Journal. Authors include researchers from SwRI, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, the University of Arizona and the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées in France.

In addition to being the largest asteroid, Ceres was also the first asteroid to be discovered -- on Jan. 1, 1801, by the Sicilian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi. Ceres orbits the sun once every 4.6 years at a distance of 414 million kilometers, and it spins on its axis once every nine hours.

Contact Parker at (303) 546-0265 or

Mason elected ASA president

Dr. Robert L. Mason, a staff analyst in the SwRI Automotive Products and Emissions Research Division, has been chosen the 2002 president-elect of the American Statistical Association (ASA), the nation's preeminent professional statistical society.

His term as president-elect begins Jan. 1, 2002; he will begin his term as ASA President on Jan. 1, 2003.

During his more than 25 years at SwRI, Mason has headed a group responsible for applying statistical methods to solve data analysis and experimental design problems for a wide range of Institute clients. He has developed new statistical techniques and contributed to the solution of numerous client problems in such areas as the design and analysis of experiments, regression and response surface analysis, statistical quality control, process improvement, applied multivariate analysis, sampling procedures, nonparametric statistics, statistical modeling and data and reliability analyses.

Mason has published more than 100 papers in refereed statistical and engineering journals and is the co-author of five books. He is the recipient of the 1974 and 1985 W.J. Youden Prize of the American Society for Quality, the 1992 Founders Award of the ASA and the 1985 E.W. Jacobson Award of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

An ASA member since 1971, Mason is an elected fellow of the society, a past member of its board of directors, and a past vice president. He is also an elected fellow of the American Society for Quality and a member of the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Contact Mason at (210) 522-2671 or

Published in the Fall 2001 issue of Technology Today®, published by Southwest Research Institute. For more information, contact Maria Stothoff.

Fall 2001 Technology Today
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