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.