Search Langley

Go

Text Size

 
 

Release No. 96-030

For Release: Immediately

NASA Langley Story Opportunities - May

Project Mercury's 35th Anniversary. On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard was propelled into space aboard the Mercury capsule Freedom 7. His 15-minute sub-orbital flight was the first for Project Mercury and the beginning of the United States' human space program. NASA Langley Research Center played a major role in Project Mercury from 1958 to 1963 including project management, development of the Mercury spacecraft and its related systems, design and management of the global spacecraft tracking network, and training of the Mercury astronauts. A Project Mercury fact sheet, related photos, and video b-roll are available, as well as interviews with NASA researchers who worked on Project Mercury.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONTACT: Ann C. Gaudreaux (757) 864-8150

Putting the Crunch On Composite Wings. Engineers at NASA Langley are testing a full-scale composite wing/fuselage junction (wing box) for the X-33 reusable launch vehicle. Instrumentation developed at NASA Langley, known as the Vehicle Health Monitoring (VHM) system, is being used for the first time to record the forces on the large structure. The wing box was built by Rockwell and Northrop Grumman as part of Phase I of the X-33 Reusable Launch Vehicle program. Interviews available.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONTACT: Ron Harvey (757) 864-6527

Metallic Thermal Protection System Tested On STS-77. Metallic thermal protection system (TPS) tiles developed by NASA Langley and ROHR Industries of Chula Vista, Calif. are scheduled to be flight tested on the Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-77. in May. A metallic TPS has been proposed by two of the three Reusable Launch Vehicle (X-33) industry teams. The metallic TPS developed by NASA Langley and ROHR has proven to be lighter weight than current the ceramic TPS, more durable, and does not require coatings or waterproofing. Interviews and photos are available.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONTACT: Ann C. Gaudreaux (757) 864-8150

New Superplastic Mimics Metal, Ceramic. NASA Langley researchers have invented a superplastic that is beginning to see use in nuclear power plants and has potential applications that could make it a $1 billion product. LaRC-SI is a thermoplastic that can withstand temperatures and conditions that would degrade or destroy conventional plastics. LaRC-SI will be applied to metal and concrete infrastructure components at Virginia Power's two nuclear stations, Surry and North Anna, Va. to reduce maintenance costs. Interviews, fact sheets, photos and video b-roll are available.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONTACT: Michael Finneran (757) 864-6121

Making A Better Contact Lens In Space. NASA Langley's Gas Permeable Polymer Materials (GPPM) experiment is scheduled to fly aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-77 in May. The GPPM experiment uses the microgravity of space to produce plastics that are more uniform and permeable than those produced on Earth. Permeable plastics are ideal for the manufacture of extended wear contact lenses because they allow more oxygen to reach the cornea, which is essential to prevent swelling of the eye. The GPPM experiment is being carried out by NASA Langley in collaboration with Paragon Vision Sciences, Inc. of Mesa, Arizona. A fact sheet and interviews are available.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONTACT: Catherine E. Watson (757) 864-6122

Journey Through The Atmosphere Of Jupiter. Marcie Smith, Galileo Probe manager, will discuss "A Journey Through a Giant Planet: The Jupiter Galileo Probe Mission" at 2 p.m. May 7 in the NASA Langley H.J.E. Reid Conference Center, Hampton, Va. The Galileo Probe made history's first entry into the atmosphere of an outer planet on December 7, 1995. The probe plunged into Jupiter's swirling cloud tops and descended through turbulence, violent winds and clouds, into the hot, dense atmosphere below. Smith will describe Galileo's systems and performance and will present an overview of its initial science results. Interviews are available.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONTACT: Catherine E. Watson (757) 864-6122

Exploring The Red Planet. A Mars Symposium entitled "Mars Revisited: A Forward Look," will be held at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, July 18-19. The symposium is hosted by NASA, the Planetary Society and the Lockheed Martin Corp. NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin and Dr. Carl Sagan have been invited to speak. Dr. Mike Carr, former Viking Orbiter Imaging Team Leader, will summarize our present knowledge of Mars and discuss future exploration missions, including the upcoming Pathfinder and Discovery missions. For more information and/or reservations, call Judy Cole at (757) 865-7604, Fax (757) 865-8721, or via electronic mail at cole@stcnet.co

PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONTACT: Michael Finneran (757) 864-6121

Probing Pilot Awareness. Researchers are working to develop scientific methods for evaluating the effects of cockpit automation on a pilot's attention span. Pilot boredom, lulls in activity and "pilot-out-of-the-loop" issues are being looked at in cockpit simulator tests at NASA Langley's Human Engineering Methods Lab . The tests are designed to assess a pilot's ability to perform effectively as automation becomes more widespread and pilot workload lessens. Systems are being developed to measure mental loading, stress, task engagement and situational awareness. Interviews and photos are available. PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONTACT: Keith Henry (757) 864-6120

PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONTACT: Catherine E. Watson (757) 864-6122

- end -

 

- end -


text-only version of this release