Melanie N. Ott
Electrical Systems Engineer, Photonics

Photonics Group Leader
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Parts, Packaging, and Assembly Technologies Office
Code 562, Greenbelt MD, 20771

Melanie Ott is an electrical engineer with nineteen years experience in fiber optic and bulk optical systems and thirteen years experience in reliability of photonic parts for optical communications, LIDAR and sensing systems for space flight. Her expertise with photonic devices includes: fiber lasers, amplifiers and amplifier components, volume holographic storage crystals, integrated optical modulators, semiconductor sources, fiber optics and assemblies, optocouplers and passive fiber optic interconnects.  Ott directs the Photonics Group in the Parts, Packaging and Assembly Technologies Office, Code 562 at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in design, development, manufacturing, testing and integration of space flight optical fiber and photonic assemblies for space.  She directs operations of the Photonics Facilities.  Currently, Ott is the lead fiber optics engineer on the Lunar Recon Orbiter team for the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) and the Laser Ranging Mission and Principal Investigator in the; Instrument Incubation Program, NESC Optical Fiber Reliability Study, the NASA Parts and Packaging Task on Optoelectronics and internal IRAD for advancing the technology of fiber amplifiers for space environments.

Ott is also supporting the development of: fiber lasers and amplifiers for usage in space flight environments, radiation effects on optical fiber for space flight, laser diodes technology validation,  fiber components and assemblies manufacturing, development and testing.  Current and past projects include: Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS),  Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA), the International Space Station (ISS), Mars Laser Communications Demonstration (MLCD), Laser Ranging for the Lunar Recon Orbiter, Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA), Shuttle Return-to-Flight, Laser Inteferometer Space Antenna (LISA), Laser Risk Reduction Program (LRRP), NASA Electronic Parts and Packaging Program (NEPP).  As part of Ott's NEPP work she participates with Dr. Nikos Karafolas at ESA/ESTEC in the Netherlands to Co-Chair the Annual ESA/NASA Workshop on Optoelectronics for Space

Ott holds a Masters in Electrical Engineering with Optics emphasis from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg Virginia, a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech, and an Associates in Engineering Science from Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland. Ott has a background in research, development and applications of optical fiber sensing systems. In the past this work was funded by NASA Langley Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center’s Director’s Discretionary fund, and the Fiber and Electro Optic Research Center (FEORC) at Virginia Tech where she was employed throughout most of her graduate studies. At the Crystal Physics Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology she investigated the extraction and poling of barium titanate crystals for use as volume holographic memories in a sensing system for large space structures; at FEORC, Ott researched the applications of integrated optic Mach-Zehnder phase modulators for use with distributed fiber optic sensing systems and demonstrated the use of modal domain vibration sensing on a single fiber; at Langley Research Center developed an incoherent Moire’ sensing system with adjustable sensitivity using Fourier optics for large space structures. Ott holds a patent for a sol gel optical fiber sensor developed at NASA GSFC. 

In the last twelve years she has worked primarily for Goddard Space Flight Center under the Headquarters funded program for parts and packaging and has aided NASA programs in their selection and use of reliable photonic devices and electrical connectors for space flight. Ott was the program manager for a Space Technology Research Vehicle radiation experiment called "COTS3" designed to test the radiation hardness of commercially available optocouplers. She has supported programs such as MLA, GLAS, GLAST, NGST, VCL, ISS, Shuttle Return to Flight, ESTO Fiber Laser Project and FODB for design, development, radiation and environmental effects of optical fiber and photonics systems for space flight. Ott is also a co-inventor of the Fiber Optic Integrated Sol-Gel Sensor, patent number 6,445,861 . In September 2001, Ott received the AETD Contractor Excellence Award for her direction of the Advanced Photonic Interconnection Manufacturing Laboratory and the Technology Validation Assurance Laboratory for Photonics at GSFC.

Publications, Presentations...

Radiation Effects on Optical Fiber and Photonic Systems:

Lasers, Photonics and Fiber Optics

Conference Proceedings & Presentations: 

NASA Electronic Parts and Packaging Publications & Conference Presentations: 



Under the publication EEE Links: URL address,

Melanie Ott's Complete Resume

Go to the NASA Parts and Packaging Website

Go to the Photonics Documents Library

This page is maintained by Melanie Ott
Last update: April 2007