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Behind the ScenesMeet the People

IMAGE: Royce Forman
In 2002, The U.S. Air Force Aircraft Structural Integrity Program, or ASIP, recognized NASA engineer Royce Forman with its John W. Lincoln Award.

Royce Forman,
Johnson Space Center,
Houston, Texas

The lifelong work of a NASA engineer makes flight safer

March 2003 -- Royce Forman has been a leader in the field of structural integrity and safety of aircraft for more than 40 years.

In December 2002, the U.S. Air Force Aircraft Structural Integrity Program, or ASIP, recognized Forman's expertise. The award is in honor of a structural integrity and safety pioneer, John W. Lincoln, and is presented every year to a distinguished career expert who has made significant contributions toward advancements in aircraft structural integrity and safety.

"It was a surprise to receive the award," Forman said.

Forman's career began to excel at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. There he investigated crack problems in Vietnam War aircraft. During those investigations he initiated the use of fracture mechanics to examine aircraft in the Air Force, studying the growth rate and the instability of crack defects. He also developed the universally known "Forman Equation" used in predicting the growth rate of fatigue cracks.

Forman then moved to Nassau Bay, Texas, to work at NASA's Johnson Space Center, or JSC, in 1967. He is now the senior engineer overseeing fracture mechanics technology, testing and development at JSC. One of his biggest achievements was to initiate the development of a fracture control analysis software code.

He formed the NASA Fracture Control Methodology Panel and originated the Space Act Agreement between NASA and the Southwest Research Institute to develop the software. He now manages NASA's role in a 13-company consortium to maintain and upgrade the software program.

The NASGRO team: front row, from left, Joaquim Beek, Leonard Williams and Sambi Mettu; back row, from left, V. Shaivakumar, Royce Forman and Feng Yeh.

The software Forman developed is called NASGRO™. It helps engineers analyze fatigue crack growth, as well as assess the structural life of materials and the effects of stress on the equipment. Many companies outside of NASA, as well as the U.S. Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration, use the NASGRO™ software program.

"My career achievements were made possible by the excellent support, encouragement and freedom in research that I have received while working in my particular technical field for NASA," Forman said. "The assistance of my Lockheed Martin contractor support team for NASGRO™ software development and fracture mechanics research has been significant and indispensable. The five team members have all been supporting this work for a period of 15 to 25 years. I extend my deepest gratitude to Dr. V. Shivakumar, Dr. Sambi Mettu, Mr. Joachim Beek, Mr. Leonard Williams and Mr. Feng Yeh."

As the JSC representative of the NASA Fracture Control Methodology Panel, Forman also spearheaded the development and publication of NASA's fracture control requirements documents for space shuttle payloads and the International Space Station. He continues to contribute to the field of structural integrity by authoring papers and publications. As a result, much of his work is internationally recognized, included in technical books and taught in college courses.

For his dedicated efforts throughout the years, Forman has received a Silver Snoopy Award, numerous performance awards from NASA and a Man of the Year award from the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory.

His most recent recognition from the Air Force was a true honor for Forman. "I attend the ASIP conference every year and personally know all of the six previous winners," he said. "There are a number of people that deserve the award and I hoped that someday I would be honored."

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 06/23/2003
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