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Webinar: Space Tribology Challenges On-Board the International Space Station

Thursday, November 14, 2013

12:00 PM - 01:30 PM

Join us for this webinar where Dr. Chris DellaCorte will address space tribology challenges on-board the ISS.

Space Tribology Challenges On-Board the International Space Station

Instructor: Dr. Christopher DellaCorte, Senior Technologist for Tribology and Rotating Machinery, NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH

Where: STLE University, live webinar event broadcast to your computer

When: Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 12-1:00 p.m., with optional Q&A from 1-1:30 p.m. Central Time

Cost: $39 for members, $59 for non-members


The International Space Station provides a unique micro-gravity laboratory environment for research.  The ISS also serves as an effective platform for the development of technologies and engineered solutions related to living and working in space.  The space environment also challenges our capabilities related to lubrication and tribology. 

In this webcast, Dr. DellaCorte will review the basics of space mechanism tribology and the challenges of providing good lubrication and long-life in the harsh space environment.  He will also discuss recent tribological challenges associated with the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ) bearings and life support hardware that must operate under severe conditions that are literally out of this world.  Each tribology challenge is unique and their solutions often result in new technologies that benefit the tribology community everywhere, even back on Earth.


Dr. DellaCorte began his NASA career in 1985 as a graduate student in the Surface Science Branch.   In 1987, shortly after earning a masters of science degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) he was hired as a permanent employee to work on tribology (friction and wear) problems for extreme environments.  Early career highlights include developing an understanding of the friction and wear behavior of emerging engineered ceramics that were then candidates for advanced heat engines and aerospace vehicle airframes and structures.  Much of this research became the basis for his Ph.D. dissertation (CWRU, 1989). 

Identifying a need for high temperature solid lubricant solutions for these new ceramics, Dr. DellaCorte developed a series of patented tribomaterials and solid lubricant coatings that have since become commercial products.  One such coating, NASA PS300, enabled foil air bearing operation to extreme temperatures spurring the concept of Oil-Free Turbomachinery.  His expertise extends beyond materials and includes foil gas bearings, rotordynamics, rolling element bearings, lubricants, and tribology technology for NASA aero and space missions.  

Dr. DellaCorte has consistently applied his expertise to lead complex root cause failure investigations with a successful, proven track record.  Among his recent and significant problem-solving accomplishments include; deciphering the International Space Station (ISS) Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ) failure mechanism and recovery, guiding the rotordynamic analyses of the Mars Science Laboratory Surface Analysis on Mars vacuum pump bearing failure phenomena, understanding and advocating for re-lubrication of the Canadian Arm-Latching End Effector mechanism, and contributing to the Advanced Stirling Converter power fluctuation anomaly Red Team.  Dr. DellaCorte is often sought out by industry, other government agencies, and academia for his multidisciplinary understanding of bearings, tribological coatings, analytical modeling, and surface science.

Dr. DellaCorte’s technical accomplishments and contributions, over his career, have earned him prestigious recognitions including; the NESC Engineering Excellence Award, NASA Space Flight Awareness Award, NASA Qasar Award for the ISS SARJ Failure Analysis, NASA Silver Snoopy Award, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, R&D 100 Award, and the Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Commercialization.  

Contact Us

Phone: (847) 825-5536

Email: Kara Sniegowski at ksniegowski@stle.org

Reminder: Computer speakers or headphones are needed to hear the audio.

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