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March 2013

Sandia researchers simulate the behavior of weapon componentsCheck out Sandia’s highlights for 2012 by viewing Sandia’s Labs Accomplishments. The publication recognizes some of Sandia’s best work during 2012, as submitted by Sandia center offices and selected by division offices.

See it here.

About the photo:
Sandia researchers use advanced computational capabilities to simulate the behavior of weapon components under a variety of conditions. Photo by Randy Montoya.

The ChemCam mast unit mounted on the Curiosity rover

Members of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover ChemCam team will present more than two dozen posters and talks this week during the 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.

Since Curiosity’s successful landing on Mars on Aug. 6, 2012, ChemCam has fired more than 40,000 shots at more than a thousand different locations with its high-powered laser. The ChemCam system is one of 10 instruments mounted on the Curiosity rover—a six-wheeled mobile laboratory that will roam more than 12 miles of the planet’s surface during the course of one Martian year (98 Earth weeks).

The ChemCam team is comprised of researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and the French space agency, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, as well as other researchers from the U.S., France, Canada, and the United Kingdom. ChemCam operations are now commanded from centers at Los Alamos and Toulouse, France.

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About the photo:
This image shows the ChemCam mast unit mounted on the Curiosity rover as it is being prepared in the clean room prior to the launch of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission. ChemCam fires a powerful laser that can sample Martian rocks and provide critical clues about the Red Planet's habitability. (Credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory)

Stan Maciaszek, SRNS, demonstrates during a teach-in.Engineers, scientists and technicians from the Savannah River Site recently provided science- and engineering-based demonstrations for more than 2,500 students for the 2013 National Engineers Week. 36 employees from Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) conducted 99 sessions at 15 middle schools in the Aiken, S.C., area. The interactive programs often include informative discussions and give students a broad understanding of the field of engineering.

Teach-ins are an effective way to promote the importance of a technical education in addition to high-level literacy in math, science and technology. Since its inception in 2009, an estimated 10,000 students in the region have benefitted from the outreach program.

About the photo:
Stan Maciaszek, an SRNS employee, demonstrates the four components required by fire during a teach-in.

The AAR team poses with one of the OST 737s

AAR Inc., the aviation contractor for NNSA’s Office of Secure Transportation (OST), has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 145 Repair Station Certification.

Jeff Harrell, NNSA assistant deputy administrator for secure transportation, said the designation means that OST has opened its facility to FAA oversight, and that they comply with the highest levels of conduct, documentation and safety in conducting the OST aviation mission. “Receiving the Part 145 Repair Station Certification from the FAA is a very proud moment for the entire AAR team and for OST,” he said.

The OST aviation program operates under FAA’s Part 125, which was granted in December 2012. Part 125 governs the operation of large airplanes configured for more than twenty passenger seats. Very few government aviation programs operate with FAA regulations and oversight. The OST aviation program is a government-operated, contractor-maintenance organization with a highly experienced all-federal staff involved in day-to-day operations.

OST’s aircraft provide safe and secure transportation of nuclear weapons components, nuclear limited life components, and transport federal agent task forces who conduct secure ground transportation. The OST fleet consists of two Boeing 737s, a DC-9, and a Learjet. They are housed at DOE’s facility at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. AAR has a staff of 26 there, including 14 mechanics and inspectors.

About the photo:
The AAR team poses with one of the OST 737s at its Albuquerque hangar.

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