Johns Hopkins Gazette: July 11, 1994


APL's largest research spacecraft readied for November launch

The largest spacecraft ever built at the Applied Physics
Laboratory was transported to NASA's Goddard Space Flight
Center June 22 for testing and launch preparation.
    The Midcourse Space Experiment will be launched and
operated by the APL for the Ballistic Missile Defense
Organization. An observatory-class spacecraft, MSX will
perform research on space-based tracking of ballistic
missiles as well as research involving global change,
astronomy and space debris.
    The spacecraft is expected to undergo three months of
testing at Goddard and is scheduled for a November lift-off
aboard a Delta II booster from Vandenberg Air Force Base in

Computer communications system lets scientists share
medical data

A new computer communications system is helping Hopkins
scientists rapidly collect medical images from other
institutions to build a data base of normal and abnormal
growth in children's skulls.
    The technology, called an Asynchronous Transfer Mode
switch, eventually will enable prediction of the long-term
outcome of surgery performed to reconstruct abnormal skulls.
    The technology is now carrying computed tomography and
magnetic resonance imaging data from the University of
Maryland's medical school to a computer data base at Hopkins.
    The ability of ATM to transfer large amounts of voice,
image and other data virtually simultaneously among many
computers in different institutions will be used eventually
to speed research in many areas, said Carey Kriz, co-director
of the Center for Information-enhanced Medicine. The center
was recently established as a cooperative venture with the
Institute of Systems Sciences of the National University of
     The data base is being compiled by Hopkins researcher
Joan T. Richtsmeier, associate producer of cell biology,
anatomy and plastic surgery. Dr. Richtsmeier is studying how
specific landmarks on children's skulls change position
during growth.
    "The immediate benefit of ATM is that physicians in
different institutions will be able to study the same
radiological images simultaneously during a consultation,"
Dr. Richtsmeier said. "Over the long term, the technology
will enable us to accumulate a data base of images very
rapidly and store them for easy access for research on normal
and abnormal skull growth."
    The ATM system was developed by the Massachusetts-based
Lightstream Corp., which donated the equipment to Hopkins. 

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