National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight CenterGoddard Space Flight Center

James Kerley Award

Dr. James Kerley was a Goddard innovator with a passion for technology transfer. His inventive ideas and collaborative mindset helped establish Goddard’s reputation as a center for technology development and innovation.

In the 1980s, Kerley developed a cable-compliant mechanism for sounding rocket assemblies and robotics. Kerley and fellow Goddard researchers incorporated the technology into a walker that mimicked the movement of the hip joint. In 2002, the president of Enduro Medical Technology licensed the cable-compliant mechanism and the walker, eventually producing a rehabilitative device called the Secure Ambulation Module (SAM). The SAM walker entered the market in 2003, aimed toward patients who need physical therapy or restorative nursing.

In his honor, the Strategic Partnerships Office gives the James Kerley Award to innovators who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to technology development and commercialization. The award recognizes individuals who reach out to industry and find commercial applications for Goddard technology. Kerley Award winners go above and beyond basic requirements to facilitate the process of technology transfer.

If you are interested in nominating a candidate for a Kerley Award, please contact SPO. Keep in mind the candidate must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a civil servant
  • Must have reported new technologies
  • Must have transferred technology
  • Must have displayed an innovative approach to outreach

If you would like additional information about how to nominate a team or individual for the James Kerley Award, please contact the Strategic Partnerships Office.

+ Past winners