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December 26, 2016 AT 10:00 am

Interview with Lien Pham, a ‘Spacecraft Dressmaker’ #space #NASA

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Space Daily has a fascinating interview with Lien Pham, who makes thermal blankets at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Lien Pham sometimes thinks of herself as a “spacecraft dressmaker.” She’s been making thermal blankets at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, for 16 years. Just as clothing can be sewn too tight or too loose, thermal blankets – the glinting material each spacecraft is wrapped in to regulate its temperature – have to be cut to form. A thermal blanket has to provide just the right amount of heat – not too much and not too little – for the spacecraft to operate correctly.

Pham is a member of Flight Technicians Services, a group at JPL that contributes to all stages of spacecraft assembly. Her particular team, which designs and fabricates the protective thermal blankets, is called the shield shop.

At JPL, a place known for complex engineering, Pham has a different background: she began her career as a seamstress after her family immigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam. Her experience behind a sewing machine has informed how she makes thermal blankets.

We sat down to talk with Pham about her life and her work at JPL.

Read the interview here.


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