CROFTON, Md. (WJZ)—It’s a simple idea, and it could save NASA a lot of money. 

Alex DeMetrick reports it could also win Crofton man a trip to the White House.

When you’re in the business of building spacecraft, things have to work right the first time. And that means using the right parts and tools on the ground.

“In our case, with the many different projects we have, that tends to be a lot of different efforts going on at once,” said Matthew Ritsko, NASA employee.

That can have one project searching other projects for tools and supplies at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

In response to a presidential challenge for greater federal efficiency, Ritsko suggested a central supply point …a kind of tool library.

“Where we can go in and borrow out parts and materials and then return them when they’re done and somebody else can use them again,” Ritsko said.

The idea is simple, but it made Ritsko a challenge finalist because it could save NASA time and money.

The four finalists joined the White House in a video conference call to pitch their ideas.

They were expecting to talk to a budget expert until the president showed up on camera.

“And he appeared, and we were all surprised,” Ritsko said.  “Our folks didn’t know he was going to be there.  So I did get to pitch to him, but it was a little nerve-wracking.”

Ritsko is competing against ideas from three other agencies, and while not a rocket scientist himself, more efficiency could help keep more NASA missions flying.

Twenty thousand ideas were submitted in the efficiency challenge. There’s no prize money, but the winner will travel to the White House to meet the president.


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