Seeing a launch from a young age inspired a clear goal for Debi Tomek: a calling to work at NASA and help enable a sustainable human presence in space beyond Earth.
Working towards this goal is exactly what Debi Tomek is doing, serving as the Deputy Director of the Space Technology and Exploration Directorate where she leads the formulation of the National Initiative for On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (OSAM).
- NASA has needed to shift and change just like everyone else, being innovative and flexible is NOT a new concept for NASA- The NASA ability to innovate and bring space-based solutions to us on Earth is what keeps Debi and the NASA teams going. Applying ways to help solve the current COVID problem for humanity -whether it be using NASA’s super computers and coders, algorithms, and understanding models, to the ways NASA implements new technologies that can help with everything from ventilators to computation of fluid dynamic to study penetrating different materials in the masks that folks are wearing.
- Learn what OSAM stands for and why it will CHANGE the future of space and the Mars Perseverance rover mission launched later this summer
- The many ways Aretims IS SO different from Apollo
- “If you’re life’s work can be accomplished in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough” is a quote that fuels Debi and her work to think beyond the Moon, Mars and even further!
- NASA HAS TECHNOLOGY READY TO GO. Right now today- ready to be used on the surface of Mars, and the Moon- working with commercial partners to develop the technologies- is EXACTLY the business model NASA’s has been planning for!
About how NASA is working within the COVID-19 challenges:
“At NASA, we’re used to having to figure out how to operate and live around constraints. Think of space, think of everything we’ve got to do up there. You can’t go outside on the space station very easily without any kind of being suited up and being protected. We can’t get ourselves under the surface of the moon or to Mars, without having the proper constraints and limitations and understanding risk. So even though that’s extreme sense, I think our ability at NASA to innovate and just think like that is helping us with the folks that are healthy, with COVID.
How can we think out of the box, what innovations do we have in our way of thinking and how can we apply that to helping solve this problem for humanity whether it be our super computers and our coders, in the algorithm, and us understanding models, whether it be in our ability to innovate new technologies that can help with everything from ventilators to other areas, and they’re actually using a lot of our computation through a dynamic spokes to do computer modeling of flow through masks that folks are wearing to understand how much is actually penetrating different materials.
We’re shifting like everybody else, but we’re really trying to take how we think, how we innovate and how we’ve addressed challenges in space and how can we apply that thinking to here on Earth to help with this problem. Right now, that is a little glimmer of hope that’s really kept us going.”-Debi Tomek from Casual Space Podcast
About Debi Tomek:
Deborah (Debi) Tomek began her career with NASA in 1997 at Langley Research Center. Ms. Tomek has over 20 years of research and technical management experience at NASA and Lockheed Martin.
Throughout her career Ms. Tomek has served numerous roles inclusive of researcher, principal investigator, test engineer, and technical manager on numerous cross-Agency projects and programs. Ms. Tomek’s research in flight vehicle dynamic stability characterization was instrumental in the development of numerous flight vehicle aerodatabases inclusive of the NASA Orion Crew Module and Launch Abort System (LAS).
During the Space Shuttle Program, Ms. Tomek managed the Hypersonic Thermodynamic Infrared Measurements (HYTHIRM) Project that was responsible for obtaining high resolution spatially resolved temperature measurements of the Shuttle Orbiter as it re-entered the earth’s atmosphere. Ms. Tomek also served as the HEOMD Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Space Radiation manager and the STMD Advanced Radiation Project manager leading teams in the development of passive radiation shielding systems, space weather forecasting codes, and integrated space vehicle hardware in support of long duration human spaceflight.
Ms. Tomek spent nearly four years with NASA Headquarters leading cross-Agency technical capability assessments for the NASA Associate Administrator in support of the development of the Capability Leadership Model and the new Agency operating model. Since her return from Headquarters she has served as Chief of Staff at NASA Langley Research Center working to promote, collaborate, and evolve the projects and capabilities of the Center before moving into her current role as Deputy Director of the Space Technology and Exploration Directorate (STED). In this role Ms. Tomek is currently leading the formulation of the National Initiative for On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (OSAM).
Ms. Tomek holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Auburn University in Auburn, AL, and a Master’s degree in Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering from the George Washington University in Washington D.C.
Learn More about OSAM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xP4_Q7iIlb0
NASA Technologies https://www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/index.html
NASA Mars Perseverance Mission: https://www.nasa.gov/perseverance/overview