JPL Hosts von Karman Lecture on Spacecraft Origami

Published on Jan 12, 2021

Photo Credit NASA/JPL

JPL and NASA invite you to join their latest von Karman Lecture on Spacecraft Origami on Thursday, January 14, at 7 p.m.

This free virtual lecture will discuss the idea behind using origami practices to fold materials and transport them into space without having to worry about “the tyranny of the fairing.”

“Fairing” in the phrase refers to a payload fairing, a nose cone used to protect a spacecraft’s payload against the impact of dynamic pressure and aerodynamic heating during launch. On some flights, the fairing also maintains the cleanroom environment that’s necessary for precision instruments. Once outside the atmosphere, the fairing is jettisoned, exposing the payload to outer space. 

For years, engineers have had to deal with “the tyranny of the fairing,” or the principle that anything you want to send into space has to fit into a rocket bearing. NASA says a field of advanced design has been looking for new ways to improve this aspect of space engineering, using the centuries-old artform to dream bigger.

Friday’s discussion will be moderated by Brian White, from the JPL Public Services Office. Thalia Rivera, Public Outreach Specialist, will be co-host. 

The panelists are Manan Arya, Technologist, and Lizbeth B. De La Torre, Creative Technologist, both from JPL. 

The event will be live on JPL’s Ustream channel,

A link to the YouTube broadcast will soon be announced. 

JPL’s Theodore von Kármán Lecture Series, presented by the Communications and Education Directorate, aims to bring the excitement of JPL’s missions, instruments and other technologies to an audience of both JPL employees and the general public.

Due to COVID-19, the von Karman series has become a completely virtual event for the time being, taking place once a month, while being recorded for you to enjoy at any time.

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