Following a three-year hiatus, Edwards Air Force Base is once again holding an open house and air show on Saturday, Oct. 17. As in past events, NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards will be part of the activities.
In addition to military and privately owned aircraft that will be featured, a number of aircraft from NASA Dryden are currently scheduled to fly during the air show, including the high-altitude ER-2, the civil variant of the Air Force U-2S reconnaissance aircraft. Other NASA aircraft on the flight schedule include an F/A-18, an F-15, a Gulfstream III and the unique YO-3 Quiet Star.
The Boeing Company's X-48B Blended Wing Body aircraft, currently in flight test at NASA Dryden, made its first public appearance at the Edwards open house in 2006. The sub-scale X-48B is again planned to be part of the static displays this year in Hangar 1600, as part of the NASA Dryden exhibit. NASA's Global Hawk and Ikhana (Predator B) unmanned aircraft systems will also be in the same location. Outside, one of NASA's modified 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, along with several other current or retired NASA research aircraft such as the F-16XL, an F-16, the NF-15B, an F/A-18 aircraft and a T-34, will be on display.
For those with interests in the heavens, the NASA Dryden exhibit will feature a display about the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, now in development at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale. The SOFIA incorporates a highly modified Boeing 747SP containing the world's largest airborne infrared telescope, a high-tech instrument built in Germany. To help Edwards open house attendees see how infrared astronomy works, a camera will be set up for visitors to see how they appear in the infrared spectrum.
Other highlights of the NASA exhibit in Bldg. 1600 include a display about the famed X-15 rocket plane that 50 years ago redefined the limits of aviation and contributed to the success of the Apollo moon-landing program. An F-15 cockpit simulator will allow visitors to picture themselves in the pilot's seat lifting off the runways at Edwards. A functional model will demonstrate how wind tunnels are used for researching different aircraft shapes or aerodynamics.
A number of rotating videos, including those featuring the remotely piloted Ikhana and X-48B Blended Wing Body aircraft and the Global Hawk autonomous aircraft will be shown. In addition, Dryden life support technician Jim Sokolik will demonstrate a full pressure suit that is worn by pilots of high-altitude aircraft. Sokolik will explain how the pressure suit works, why it is required and the changes that have been made to newer designs.
Dryden education office representatives will be on hand to provide information about NASA education programs and the Dryden Gift Shop also will have a presence at the event. Youngsters will enjoy have their photo taken at a photo kiosk, where they can be pictured in a space suit on either the moon or Mars.
Adjacent to the NASA exhibit, representatives of scholastic robotics teams that are a part of the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – FIRST – program will demonstrate their robots.
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