The Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, has selected Michael Krainak as the FY18 Internal Research and Development (IRAD) Innovator of the Year due to his visionary leadership and skill in applying emerging, potentially revolutionary technologies to a myriad of high-impact, agency-priority spaceflight needs.
In addition to Krainak, who heads Goddard's Laser and Electro-Optics Branch, OCT awarded its IRAD team award to Goddard scientists and engineers who successfully conceived, built and launched last year the highly resilient Dellingr CubeSat mission, which is currently gathering scientific data and demonstrating new engineering capabilities.
The Dellingr team is using lessons learned to build a more robust platform that can operate beyond low-Earth orbit in a harsher radiation environment.
"With this choice, we celebrate a rare combination of skills that NASA values -- technical acumen, visionary thinking and inspirational leadership.
Krainak's successes can affect virtually every area of science and technology.
The native of Wheaton, Maryland, and graduate of Catholic University in Washington and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has played an important role in NASA's Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) mission, which will show a fully operational laser or optical communications system.