Pentagon Channel, Defense Laboratories Team Up for
New Science TV Show

03/10/2014 07:00 EDT - 35-14r
Contact: John Ohab, (202) 767-2541

Two of the Department of Defense's (DoD's) premier in-house research laboratories have joined forces with the Pentagon Channel to create a new science-focused TV show, "Armed with Science."

The show explores the cutting-edge scientific research and technology development taking place at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and the Army Research Laboratory (ARL). In the pilot episode, viewers get an inside look at NRL space robotics research and ARL work in novel weapons design and infrared imaging.

"Armed with Science" highlights the importance of science and technology to national defense and examines how DoD laboratories are addressing the complex challenges facing the military.

"This is an exciting opportunity to showcase the scientists and engineers whose work will help our service members operate more safely and effectively," Captain Anthony Ferrari, Commanding Officer of NRL, said.

The Pentagon Channel will air the pilot episode: Monday, March 10th at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m. EDT; and Thursday, March 13th at 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 10:30 p.m. EDT. The full episode and segments are also available online on the NRL YouTube channel.

The episode features NRL efforts to develop robotic technology that can help repair, reposition, or update satellites. Satellites play a critical role in the Navy's global presence by enabling communications, weather prediction, and navigation and precise timing, among other capabilities. But, when a geosynchronous satellite breaks, there is no way to fix it.

"We build them, launch them, and can never get close to them," said NRL aerospace engineer Bernard Kelm. "Satellite servicing would help the defense capability."

Dr. Glen Henshaw (left), NRL space roboticist, demonstrates how scientists simulate the frictionless environment of space by floating a satellite model on NRL's one-of-a-kind 75,000-pound gravity offset table.Dr. Glen Henshaw (left), NRL space roboticist, describes his research to George Zaidan, the host of the Pentagon Channel's 'Armed with Science' pilot program that airs Monday, March 10th, 2014. Henshaw and colleagues in NRL's Spacecraft Engineering Department are developing robotic technology that can help repair, reposition, or update satellites.
(Photo: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)

NRL's Spacecraft Engineering Department is working to develop robots that can autonomously dock with a satellite and support humans in fixing problems and making basic upgrades. In the episode, space roboticist Dr. Glen Henshaw demonstrates how scientists test how a robotic arm will reach out and touch a satellite in orbit. To simulate the frictionless environment of space, Henshaw floats a satellite model on NRL's one-of-a-kind 75,000-pound gravity offset table, which he compares to an "upside-down air hockey table."

The show also explores the Army's super materials that operate across a spectrum of extreme environments to protect soldiers against threats they haven't yet seen. The materials that scientists and engineers design at an atomic scale will make up game-changing electronics, munitions, and armor for the military of the future. The show wraps up with "super vision," or enemy detection made easier and faster with infrared radiated light that allows soldiers to see when there are zero visibility conditions.

The Pentagon Channel airs news, press conferences, Congressional hearings, and a variety of shows for service members and their families. Programming reaches more than 30 million households through commercial distribution on satellite and cable systems nationwide. In addition, the Pentagon Channel is streamed live 24/7 and is available on video-on-demand and podcast from its website.

"Armed with Science" is hosted by George Zaidan, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who has worked on video projects with The Weather Channel, TED-Education, National Geographic, and Discover Magazine.

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About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory provides the advanced scientific capabilities required to bolster our country's position of global naval leadership. The Laboratory, with a total complement of approximately 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to advance research further than you can imagine. For more information, visit the NRL website or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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