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04-054
For Release: July 19, 2004

Katherine K. Martin
Media Relations Office
216/433-2406
katherine.martin@nasa.gov


NASA AWARDS TEAMS FOR ADVANCES IN AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGIES

Six areas of work involving aviation safety and reliability, environmental protection, space launch reliability, communications architecture, technology transfer and educational outreach to the nation's youth have been selected to receive awards for innovativeness as part of NASA's Turning Goals into Reality (TGIR) Awards Program. Research on the new technologies was led by the agency's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, with participation from other NASA centers, industry and academia. Sponsored by NASA's Office of Aeronautics, the awards were presented July 14 during the 2004 TGIR Conference in Washington D.C. An afternoon ceremony was held at NASA Headquarters and an evening reception took place at the Udvar-Hazy Center, the new National Air and Space Museum at Washington Dulles International Airport.

The following lists the categories of awards and descriptions of work to be recognized:

Aeronautics Technology: Aviation Safety: Jet Engine Containment Concepts & Blade Out Simulation Team--Nearly four years of effort resulted in breakthrough technologies that not only could decrease the aircraft fatal accident rate and mitigate accident consequences, but also may reduce by 50% the weight of the single-most heavy engine component, the engine case/containment system. The new technologies include the first advanced composite jet engine fan case/containment system concept, the first application of advanced composites in a primary structural component of a commercial jet engine, and a commercially marketed product simulation software tool for predicting jet engine "blade-out" event structural system dynamics. Milestones attained were a 30% improvement in fan blade containment capacity and a 50% improvement in blade-out events margin-of-safety prediction accuracy.

Aeronautics Technology: Protect the Environment: Coated Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) Components Team--High-temperature, lightweight components that require little or no cooling to improve performance and reduce emissions were developed. These components, turbine vanes and combustor liners, appear in engine development plans for all gas turbine manufacturers and other government agencies after they demonstrated a 500 degree F increase in temperature capability over current metallic components. Additionally, after 30,000 hours of field turbine engine tests, NOx and CO emissions reduction goals were achieved. The system consists of a silicon carbide fiber reinforced silicon carbide matrix and an environmental barrier coating, which protects the CMC from the hot gas turbine environment. This system also reduces or eliminates the need for film cooling in vanes, combustor liners and other hot section components. System studies demonstrate a potential fuel savings of 255.9 million gallons per year for a fleet of 300 aircraft if CMC components and supporting technology are utilized.

Space Launch Initiative: Mission Safety & Reliability: Cooled Ceramic Matrix Composite Propulsion Structures Team--Eight years of continuous development resulted in the demonstration of the world's largest component (a 6 inch by 30 inch panel) using a cooled non-metallic composite to be tested in a scramjet facility. Projected weight savings from using this panel for heat exchangers is estimated at 50%. This weight savings translates into increased payload and range capability and enables advanced concepts. It also reduces part count and system complexity, while operating at higher temperatures (2900 degrees F) than current systems (180 degrees F). This lightweight, high-temperature, high heat flux composite, as well as its adaptability to complex shapes, offers the potential for safe, affordable and reliable future space transportation systems, including proposed rocket and hypersonic propulsion systems.

Mission & Science Measurement Technology: Architectures & Technology: Ground Truthing Team--NASA's capability to extend powerful computing resources to remote locations was first demonstrated last summer in the Utah Desert. This was done using ground truthing, which verifies the scientific validity of satellite images and clarifies irregularities in the imagery in real-time. The experiments reduced the turnaround time of collecting and analyzing data by 97%. A potential application for ground truthing includes human and robotics explorers on Mars. By enabling researchers to make informed decisions to maximize return of data while in the field, this technology paves the way for new scientific missions and science measurements never before obtained.

Innovative Technology Transfer Partnerships: Extending Benefits to Society: Hybrid Ice Protection System Team--The continued reduction of engine core size allows less and less power for ice protection systems, eliminating ice protection systems used in the past as viable options. A new system developed by this team operates at 25% of the power of current systems and enables aircraft to provide a high level of safety while maintaining utility of operations in icing conditions. The system is the first FAA-certified new form of ice protection in 40 years and uses both thermal anti-icing and mechanical deicing to keep aircraft surfaces clear of ice. The availability of this technology expands the choice of ice protection tools for aircraft designers, thus enabling safer, more capable aircraft designs in the future. More than 300 aircraft equipped with this system are on order, with resultant revenues in excess of $10 million expected in the next few years.

Education & Outreach Enterprise: Inspire Students and Engage the Public: NASA Glenn Education and Outreach Initiatives Team--Glenn participates in a full range of national and international events that sustain successful external partnerships and create a broad repertoire of high-quality educational and outreach products. The team has inspired and motivated thousands of students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and engaged the public in shaping and sharing the experience of exploration and discovery. Information technology and multiple dissemination mechanisms, including webcasts and national DVD distribution to teachers, were used to reduce costs, increase the reach to K-12 mathematics and science audiences and showcase NASA's aerospace technology programs.

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