Greenbelt, MD – February 2022
GAMA-1 Technologies, Josh Brady, and his Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) Communication and STEM Engagement Team members were nominated and selected to receive a Robert H. Goddard award.
The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) communications team continued providing a wide variety of educational and outreach products to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic and are deserving of recognition. The team developed an inspiring kinetic sculpture complemented with a technological and immersive augmented reality (AR) experience for GSFC’s Visitor Center. This creation will provide the 40,000+ annual visitors with an insight into the JPSS and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R missions throughout their 8-10-year life span.
While half the team worked diligently to adhere to safety and environmental regulations, the other half spent rigorous hours programming and animating 3D models for a unique user experience. The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Engagement Team shifted its focus from in-person outreach events to educating the public through virtual learning using webinars and at-home activities. The team completed a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Live! Webinar, Bringing Weather Forecasting Down to Earth, earlier this year as part of the #NOAALive4Kids series. The online presentation included live attendance from 7 different countries with a narrative of JPSS, satellite orbits, ground station operation, payload development, and launch. The webinar was posted to the Wood Hole Sea Grant YouTube Channel with live American Sign Language interpretation and multi-language subtitles for an inclusive learning experience.
The team is working with Blue Star Families, an organization connecting military children with other kids, to plan a STEM engagement virtual outreach activity. The team has also provided a continuous stream of educational content applicable for classroom or at-home learning posted on JPSS’s education website. STEM activities include the JPSS Water Cycle Game, where students learn about how JPSS monitors the water cycle while moving pieces around a game board. In addition, the team developed a series of seasonal STEM activities that included at-home DIY activities such as making your own snow stick, rain gauge, thermometer, and how to grow a seed. The page provides a fun and educational activities for children and families to do together.
The Internal Communications Team has worked towards educating the JPSS community on mission updates. The team has coordinated several JPSS All Hands meetings of 300+ team members from both NASA and NOAA. In addition, The Sounder, a quarterly newsletter was developed to keep JPSS employees aware of recent success across the program and GSFC while building morale and relationships. The team was also responsible for coordinating JPSS’s Summer Intern Program, which included an in-person tour of NOAA’s Satellite Operations Facility while adhering to COVID-19 protocols. The Intern Program provided the next generation of STEM leaders with an encouraging experience to pursue career opportunities at NOAA and NASA. The team also focused on expanding nationwide understanding of the importance of the JPSS mission. Topics included the first weather forecast model in the U.S. to include smoke’s impact on weather, JPSS shifting part of its operational data processing ground system to cloud computing, JPSS data helping states plan for drought and food shortages, and the microwave sounding instrument aboard JPSS, which reveals key data on the warming of the troposphere. The team has used Twitter and Facebook to promote these online events, STEM activities, articles, and breathtaking imagery from JPSS.
In March, JPSS’s image of the month, depicting iceberg A68A drifting through the southern Atlantic Ocean, was acknowledged by Center Director Dennis Andrucyk. The team also posted a week-long Earth Day social media campaign about JPSS’s role in monitoring the water cycle. Across all channels and posts, the campaign gathered approximately 45,000 views. All outreach products above, developed by the JPSS Communications Team, are currently being used for the JPSS-2 launch campaign. As the JPSS-2 launch approaches in 2022, the team will continue providing educational content and raising awareness on the importance of critical weather data and forecasting provided by the JPSS constellation.
GAMA-1 proudly interviewed Mr. Brady regarding the overall project and collaboration with his JPSS Communications and STEM Engagement teams. Mr. Brady first heard of the idea of a JPSS/GOES Exhibit at the NASA Visitor’s Center in late October of 2019. “The JPSS Communications lead, Ashley Hume, asked me to become involved. During the project kick-off meeting, Ms. Hume and I shared similar ideas of what a project like this could look like, and I knew I wanted to be the one to take on this challenge. I’ve always had an interest in sculpture, and the idea of being able to design and present a kinetic sculpture exhibit to the world was incredible.”
The JPSS/GOES Exhibit project started on October 28, 2019, and was completed by November 16, 2021. When asked about challenges and how the team overcame the challenges, Mr. Brady responded, “Absolutely! There were challenges every step of the way. But I think the main challenge I faced, besides the sheer magnitude of the project, was coming up with a way to present the information we wanted to in a manner that was clear, interesting, and accented the sculpture. I spent countless hours coming up with designs for walls, benches, signage stands, hanging signs, etc. In addition to that, I was developing the graphics that would go on those walls, the lighting that would illuminate those graphics, and the walkways that people would stand on to read the information on the graphics. There were a lot of individual pieces to this project that needed to come together to work as one. I did a lot of research and spent a lot of time on trial-and-error designs until I came up with my “EUREKA” idea.
Mr. Brady applied his skillset and expertise utilizing Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop to create the project’s graphics, mockups, and exhibit layout plans. Most team collaboration was done via Microsoft Teams and email due to working from home during COVID. Throughout the project, Mr. Brady worked with the NASA Visitor Center Director, Kristin Metropolous, the JPSS Communications Team Lead, Ashley Hume, and the JPSS Senior Science Writer, Jenny Marder. Throughout the project, the group involved the NOAA/NESDIS Director of Communications, Renata Lana, and John Leslie, from NOAA’s Office of Communications, for input and feedback.
When we asked what made this achievement so special, Mr. Brady exclaimed, “What made this achievement so awesome and special is that this project was so outside of my wheelhouse/comfort zone. This project was full of “first times” for me. It was very difficult and challenging because so many aspects were new to me. There were times when I felt stuck and defeated. But I kept working on trying to create something amazing because I knew the potential that this exhibit had. And because of all of those “growing pains,” something cool was made, and now hundreds of thousands of people will be able to experience the exhibit.”
The JPSS/GOES Kinetic Sculpture exhibit was designed to be an experience for people of all ages to learn about our satellites and what they do. The exhibit is highlighted by an 18-foot-tall abstract kinetic sculpture and captivating graphic panels. This exhibit will tell the story of polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites to nearly 40,000 visitors each year for the foreseeable future. When asked about the team, Mr. Brady excitedly stated, “The STEM Engagement is starting to catch its stride! We currently have 11 individuals on the team and growing. Each person is immensely talented, bringing a diverse set of skills, talents, and perspectives to the team, resulting in amazing brainstorming sessions, creative ideas, and even better results!”
About GAMA-1 Technologies, LLC
GAMA-1 is a certified Small Disadvantaged Business provider to the Federal Government. We deliver innovative and cost-effective technical, engineering, and management support solutions based on our ISO 9001, ISO 20000, and ISO 27001 certifications, as well as CMMI and ITIL best practices. We combine our core competencies, certifications, and best practices with our mission expertise to develop solutions that align and are consistent with the goals and objectives of our customers. Our corporate certifications include Great Place to Work, Amazon Web Services Advanced Tier Partner, ServiceNow Public Sector Partner, RedHat Business Partner, and a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador. For more information, please visit our website at www.gama1tech.com.
Rita Armstrong, Contracts Manager – 301-982-4262, [email protected]