AUTHOR ARCHIVES

Caitlin Fairchild

Web Producer Caitlin Fairchild joined Government Executive in summer 2011 as an editorial fellow, after graduating from the College of William & Mary, where she spent four years writing for the student newspaper, The Flat Hat. In March 2012, she was hired full time as a web producer. She has completed internships at Washingtonian Magazine and at the public affairs office of Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.
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How the Energy Department Uses World's Largest Wind Tunnel

March 14, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Where do you run tests on a "super truck"? At the world's largest wind tunnel, of course. It measures 80 feet high, 120 feet wide and can hold a Boeing 737. Navistar is currently developing these big rigs as part of the Energy Department's super trucking program, which aims to...

When Robots Race, the Student Engineers Win

March 13, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The California Institute of Technology Engineering department recently held its annual robotics competition. This year's theme? The "Robstacle Course." The competition featured five teams of mechanical engineering students and their engineering prowess. The students were told the challenge at the beginning of the year and then spent months developing prototypes...

How to Plan a Mission to the International Space Station

March 10, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Are you a planner? Or do you fly by the seat of your pants? For the crew members aboard the International Space Station, their days are meticulously planned to the minute at least six months in advance before they're even in orbit. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama,...

These Drones Inspect Wind Turbines for Damage

March 9, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow SkySpec's automated drone inspects wind turbines for defects in just 20 minutes. By collecting images and data required for maintenance at a quick pace, it drastically streamlines the whole data collection process. Using a drone to inspect wind turbines is also considerably safer. Currently, humans conduct maintenance checks of turbines,...

Video: NASA's Science Spy Plane Catches What Satellites Can't

March 8, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The ER2 high-altitude research plane is a modified U-2 spy plane turned NASA aircraft that soars at the edge of space. Its goal? Keeping an eye on the Earth and its atmosphere, and studying hazardous weather situations like hurricanes. At 70,000 feet above the Earth, it can capture data with...

Video: Choosing the Right Keyboard App

March 6, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Most people use their smartphones to stay in touch, often through texting or emails. And because smartphone users are always composing messages, it makes sense they should explore options beyond the default keyboard. Swiftkey uses gesture-based typing, which works quicker than standard typing and has a pretty accurate autocorrect. Gboard...

Video: How to Put a Shutdown Timer on Your Computer

March 3, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Leaving your computer perpetually running is not ideal, so powering off is important. However, when you're done using your device for the day, it sometimes needs to download updates. Solution: Let your PC keep itself up to date and turn itself off by installing a shutdown timer. Check out the...

Video: Lost and Found in Space

March 2, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Have you ever put something down and immediately lost track of it? NASA Astronauts are no different when it comes to misplacing items, but they have the added challenge of microgravity. But the crew aboard the International Space Station has backup help when it comes to keeping track of inventory,...

Video: How a Cardboard Drone Could Save Lives

February 24, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Could something as high-tech and valuable as a drone be made disposable? That's the goal of Otherlab with its Everfly Aerial Platform Supporting Autonomous Resupply Actions drone. Inspired by origami and made with corrugated cardboard and some tape, this drone was designed through a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency project...

Video: Analyzing Genetic Data From the Space Station

February 22, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Among its other functions, the International Space Station is a scientific laboratory. During a typical 6-month period, about 800 researchers from around the globe run 250 to 300 experiments onboard the ISS. One recent experiment broke the mold. One researcher, Scott Smith, was able to publish the data from a...

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