NIA Key Activities

NIA Key Activities

  • NIA Associate Research Fellow Co-Authors “Wildland Fire Annual Summary”

The 2016 NASA Earth Science Applied Sciences report “Wildland Fire Annual Summary” has been published and is available online.  Co-authors include Lawrence Friedl (NASA), Vince Ambrosia (NASA), and Amber Soja (NIA). This report summarizes the project portfolios and the pertinent Wildland Fire team activities, which endeavor to promote, discover and demonstrate innovative, practical, and beneficial uses of Earth observations to deliver near-term applications to apply Earth science data.

NIA POC: David Throckmorton, Vice President of Research,, 757.325.6724


  • NIA Associate Research Fellow Co-Hosts 2017 NASA Wildland Fire Applications Team Meeting

In her Associate Program Manager role, Amber Soja, Associate Research Fellow at the National Institute of Aerospace, co-hosted the 2017 NASA Wildland Fire Applications Team Meeting from Feb 28 through March 2nd in Boulder Colorado. The main objectives of this meeting were to review the status of funded projects, encourage collaborations among projects and the stakeholder communities and to discuss the applied use of NASA data, technology and models in the broader fire community.

NIA POC: David Throckmorton, Vice President of Research,, 757.325.6724


  • NIA Associate Research Fellow Publishes Manuscript in Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association

The manuscript titled “Development of the crop residue and rangeland burning in the 2014 National Emissions Inventory using information from multiple sources” was published by George Pouliot, Venkatesh Rao, Jessica L. McCarty & Amber Soja in the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, DOI:10.1080/10962247.2016.1268982.  This manuscript uses NASA’s Earth Observations to enhance fire emissions at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Abstract: Biomass burning has been identified as an important contributor to the degradation of air quality because of its impact on ozone and particulate matter. One component of the biomass burning inventory, crop residue burning, has been poorly characterized in the National Emissions Inventory (NEI). In the 2011 NEI, wildland fires, prescribed fires, and crop residue burning collectively were the largest source of PM2.5. This paper summarizes our 2014 NEI method to estimate crop residue burning emissions and grass/pasture burning emissions using remote sensing data and field information and literature-based, crop-specific emission factors. We focus on both the postharvest and pre-harvest burning that takes place with bluegrass, corn, cotton,

rice, soybeans, sugarcane and wheat. Estimates for 2014 indicate that over the continental United States (CONUS), crop residue burning excluding all areas identified as Pasture/Grass, Grassland Herbaceous, and Pasture/Hay occurred over approximately 1.5 million acres of land and produced 19,600 short tons of PM2.5. For areas identified as Pasture/Grass, Grassland Herbaceous, and Pasture/Hay, biomass burning emissions occurred over approximately 1.6 million acres of land and produced 30,000 short tons of PM2.5. This estimate compares with the 2011 NEI and 2008 NEI

as follows: 2008: 49,650 short tons and 2011: 141,180 short tons. Note that in the previous two NEIs rangeland burning was not well defined and so the comparison is not exact. The remote sensing data also provided verification of our existing diurnal profile for crop residue burning emissions used in chemical transport modeling. In addition, the entire database used to estimate this sector of emissions is available on EPA’s Clearinghouse for Inventories and Emission Factors (CHIEF, Implications: Estimates of crop residue burning and rangeland burning emissions can be improved by using satellite detections. Local information is helpful in distinguishing crop residue and rangeland burning from all other types of fires.

NIA POC: David Throckmorton, Vice President of Research,, 757.325.6724


  • NIA Associate Research Fellow Revises and Submits Paper to Earth Environment Research Letters

The paper, “Long-term radiation budget variability in Northern Eurasia: Potential for assessing current and future fire season variability” revised by Dr. Paul Stackhouse and Dr. Amber Soja was submitted to the Earth Environmental Research Letters on January 20, 2017.  This paper composes a long-term (30 year) surface radiation fluxes by scaling and normalization of two different satellite-based data sets.  The normalization is then assessed using extended measurements from surface solar flux measurements distributed throughout the Russian area of the NEESPI region. Decadal averaged long-term shifts of the radiative fluxes using these data compared favorably to changes in fire-related meteorological indexes using a reanalysis and actual fire occurrences.  Stackhouse and Soja added a case study to this paper to better show the correspondence on the short-time scale as well.   This paper is intended to be included in the NEESPI special issues that is being built out through ERL. Additional co-authors included J. Colleen Mikovitz, Dr. Taiping Zhang, and David Westberg of SSAI/NASA LaRC and Dr. Anatoly Tsvetkov of Voeikov Main Geophysical Observatory (MGO) in St. Petersburg, Russia.

NIA POC: David Throckmorton, Vice President of Research,, 757.325.6724


  • NIA Research Scientist and Associate Research Fellow Present Papers at 2016 Fall AGU Meeting

NASA scientists presented several papers that demonstrated the transport and deposition of biomass burning to the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) at the 2016 Fall AGU Meeting. Hyun-Deok Choi (NIA) A. Soja (NIA), D. Fairlie (NASA LaRC), D. Winker (NASA LaRC) and C. Trepte (NASA LaRC) with several others presented a paper that highlighted the major pathways from Canadian fires to the GIS using CALIOP data and the LaTM.  Soja, Choi, Fairlie, Winker Trepte and others used a suite of remotely sensed and modeling assets to demonstrate smoke-aerosol transport to the GIS requires a combination of large fires, rapid transport and a deposition event (snow).  Soja and Choi were co-authors on two additional GIS posters.

NIA POC: David Throckmorton, Vice President of Research,, 757.325.6724


  • NIA Associate Research Fellow Presents Hyperwall Talks at 2016 Fall AGU Meetings

Amber Soja, Associate Research Fellow at the National Institute of Aerospace, presented two hyperwall talks at the 2016 Fall AGU Meeting, one flash talk “Wildland Fire: Hot and Getting Hotter” and “NASA’s Applied Sciences Program Wildland Fire A Satellite View of Wildfire for Fire Management.”

NIA POC: David Throckmorton, Vice President of Research,, 757.325.6724


  • 2017 BIG Idea Challenge Forum – Winning Teams Announced

The 2017 Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Forum was hosted at NASA Langley Research Center from February 15 – 16th, 2017. Five collegiate teams with students from six universities were selected to present their innovative ideas for in-space assembly of spacecraft – particularly tugs, propelled by solar electric propulsion (SEP), that transfer payloads for low earth orbit (LEO) to a lunar distant retrograde orbit (LDRO).

Tulane University was awarded the first place prize for their design, “The Sunflower, A Modular and Hexagonally Symmetric SEP Cargo Transport Spacecraft,” while the University of Maryland team received second place for their concept titled, “200 kW / 500 kW Solar-electric Modular Flexible Kinetic Escort (SMo-FlaKE).”  As their prize, participants from both teams were offered NASA summer internships at LaRC to continue developing their concepts.

Their Forum competitors included:

  • Georgia Institute of Technology with the University of Texas at Austin and New York University, “An Elegant and Innovative Design for In-Space Assembly: Optimizing Modularity through an Umbrella Mechanism”
  • University of Colorado, “Odysseus”
  • University of Maryland, “A Reusable Modular Solar Electric Propulsion Space Tug (SEP) to Transfer Payloads from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Lunar Distant Retrograde Orbit (LDRO

Presentations were evaluated by the following BIG Idea Challenge Judges :

  • Keith Belvin (LaRC)
  • Anthony Calomino (LaRC)
  • Robert Hodson (LaRC)
  • Erik Komendera (LaRC)
  • David McGowan (LaRC)
  • LaNetra Tate (HQ)
  • Mary Wusk (LaRC)

The BIG Idea Challenge is sponsored by NASA’s Game Changing Development Program and managed by Shelley Spears and Stacy Dees of the National Institute of Aerospace.

NASA Feature Story for the 2017 BIG Idea Forum Winning Team:

BIG Idea Website:

NIA BIG Idea POC:  Shelley Spears;; 757-325-6732

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program, LaRC: Mary E. Wusk;; 757-864-3830


  • NIA Associate Principal Engineer Presents Paper at ISSS and Visits JAXA-IKAROS

Dr. Jin Ho Kang, Associate Principal Engineer at the National Institute of Aerospace, presented a paper entitled “Simulated Space Environment Effects on a Candidate Solar Sail Material” at the Fourth International Symposium on Solar Sailing (ISSS) held in Kyoto, Japan, January 17-20th. The paper was co-authored with Dr. Robert Bryant, Dr. W. Keats Wilkie (NASA LaRC), Ms. Heather Wadsworth (Virginia Tech), Dr. Paul Craven, Ms. Mary Nehls and Mr. Jason Vaughn (NASA MSFC). After the conference, the Langley Solar Sail Team (Drs. Keats, Bryant, Fernandez and Kang) were invited to visit JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency)-IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun) team at JAXA ISAS (Institute of Space and Astronautical Science) facility to discuss the future potential collaboration.

NIA POC: David Throckmorton, Vice President of Research,, 757.325.6724


  • NIA Associate Research Fellow, NCSU Langley Professor Host Researchers as Part of SIP-SM4I Program

Dr. Ronald Krueger, Associate Research Fellow at the National Institute of Aerospace and Dr. Fuh-Gwo Yuan, Samuel P. Langley Professor at North Carolina State University, hosted a group of seven researchers from the University of Tokyo, JAXA (Japan Space Exploration Agency) and Mitsubishi Research Institute. The researchers are participants in a Japanese national project on Innovative Aircraft Polymer Matrix Composites, which focusses on the development of high production rate Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer products for aircraft including the associated quality assurance technology.  This project is part of the SIP-SM4I Program set up by the Japanese Government and includes academia as well as major industry partners.  The visitors gave presentations on their work related to this project:

Shu Minakuchi, Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo, “Next-Generation Aircraft Polymer Composites by Japan SIP Project and Advanced Internal-Strain-Based Process Simulation Scheme for Their Development”.

Yuichiro Aoki, JAXA, “Current Status & Future Directions of JAXA’s Composite Research Activity”.

Shoma Niwa, Research Associate at the University of Tokyo, “Evaluating material property development of CFRP during cure based on in-situ measurement of internal strain”.

Shinsaku Hisada, Research Associate at the University of Tokyo, “Process improvement for out-of-autoclave prepreg curing supported by in-situ strain monitoring”.

Tyler Hudson, PhD Candidate at NIA/North Carolina State University, also presented a talk on “Real-Time Cure Monitoring of Composites Using a Guided Wave-Based System with Piezoelectric Transducers” and “Fiber Bragg Grating Sensors” which directly complemented the research performed at the University of Tokyo.

NIA POC: Douglas Stanley, President and Executive Director,, 757.325.6811

NIA POC: David Throckmorton, Vice President of Research,, 757.325.6724



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