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Release No. 97-043

For Release: Immediately

NASA Langley Story Opportunities - June 1997

LANGLEY LEADS AVIATION SAFETY PROGRAM.NASA Langley Research Center has been selected to lead a national aviation safety initiative whose goal is to reduce the aircraft accident rate fivefold within 10 years, and tenfold in the next two decades. Major strides have been made in the last 40 years to make flying the safest of all major modes of transportation. More technological advances are needed, however, to prevent a rise in accidents if air traffic triples as predicted in the next 20 years. NASA will work in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Defense and the aviation industry.

Public Affairs Contact:Michael Finneran (757) 864-6121

Open House. 80TH ANNIVERSARY OPEN HOUSE AND TOURS. NASA Langley is celebrating its 80th anniversary with an open house July 19 and bi-monthly tours through December. NASA Langley's 80th anniversary coincides with the 50th anniversary of supersonic flight, an achievement in which Langley played a key role. Tour information, interviews, photos, fact sheets and video B-roll are available.

Public Affairs Contact:Keith Henry (757) 864-6120

MARS PATHFINDER. When the Mars Pathfinder probe enters the Martian atmosphere on July 4, it will do so using information provided by engineers at NASA Langley. NASA Langley engineers also helped develop the flight software and design Pathfinder's heat shield. As a member of the Pathfinder team, a NASA Langley engineer will be in the control room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to oversee the entry phase of the mission. Contact: Michael Finneran (757) 864-6121

FEEDING A HUNGRY PLANET WITH SOLAR ENERGY. In refugee camps in East Africa, women and children must often search for hours to find enough firewood to cook for their families. In some African cities, the urban poor spend more than half their annual income on cooking fuel. Volunteers from the non-profit Solar Cookers International have been using data from NASA's Mission to Planet Earth program to help the people of East Africa learn to cook using solar energy. Now the Surface Solar Energy data set can be accessed via the Internet. Interviews, data illustrations and video B-roll are available. Contact Nicole Forest, (757) 864-5036.

NASA LANGLEY ENGINEER CHOSEN AS DISCOVER AWARD WINNER

Mark Froggatt, an electrical engineer in the Nondestructive Evaluation Sciences Branch, was named the aviation and aerospace winner in the 8th Annual Discover Magazine Awards for Technological Innovation, May 31, for his fiber optic strain sensor, which will benefit the space shuttle and future generations of space transport. The fiber optic sensor can be used to measure the stress damage on the space shuttle without dismantling the craft, which will save time and money. The strain sensors can also detect problems for other large structures such as aircraft and bridges. Photos/interview available.

Public Affairs Contact:Nicole Forest, (757) 864-5036

NASA STUDIES HIGH ALTITUDE RADIATION. Using an upgraded ER-2 aircraft, NASA Langley researchers began a month-long campaign May 27 to measure radiation at high altitudes. The campaign, funded by NASA's High-Speed Research (HSR) program, is the first of several that will measure naturally-occurring radiation from cosmic and solar rays at altitudes between 52,000 and 70,000 feet. The data will be used to characterize the radiation environment for those who would fly on a future supersonic passenger jet. This jet would carry 300 passengers at 2.4 times the speed of sound at altitudes up to 68,000 feet. The ER-2 flights will take place out of NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. Interviews and video B-roll are available.

NASA Langley Public Affairs Contact:Michael Finneran (757) 864-6121

NASA Ames Public Affairs Contact: David Morse (415) 604-4724

Public Affairs Contact: Ann Gaudreaux (757) 864-8150

LATEST SPACE SPIN-OFF - COMPOSITE PISTONS.NASA has granted a California company the first license to use a tough, space-age material to make high-performance pistons for internal combustion engines. A carbon-carbon composite will maintain its strength and stiffness at operating temperatures well above 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and has nearly zero thermal expansion. Other potential applications include oilless pistons for natural gas pumps; and recreational vehicle engines for snowmobiles, motorcycles, hovercraft and jet-skis. Interviews, photos and video B-roll are available.

Public Affairs Contact:Keith Henry (757) 864-6120

STUDYING GLOBAL POLLUTION FROM SPACE.The Measurement of Air Pollution from Satellites (MAPS) instrument is scheduled to be attached to the Russian space station Mir this month. MAPS will study global carbon monoxide pollution for one year. The MAPS instrument measures the distribution of carbon monoxide in the Earth's lower atmosphere (3 to 10 kilometers above the surface).The MAPS measurements provide scientists with the only near-global database of atmospheric carbon monoxide levels. These unique measurements help scientists understand how well the atmosphere can cleanse itself of pollutants. In addition, the MAPS measurements help scientists better understand both how far pollutants are transported from their source areas and the size of the sources. Interviews, data illustrations and video B-roll are available.

Public AffairsContact: Ann Gaudreaux (757) 864-8150

X-34 WIND TUNNEL TESTING.A model of the X-34, a technology demonstrator for NASA's Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) development efforts, was tested in

Langley's Low Turbulence Pressure Tunnel to simulate the low-speed final approach to landing. Tests also have been completed in Langley's 16-Foot Transonic Tunnel to obtain aerodynamic characteristics near the speed of sound (Mach 1.0). The X-34 will be a suborbital vehicle launched from an L-1011 airplane, reaching altitudes up to 250,000 feet and speeds up to Mach 8. The X-34 will help demonstrate low-cost launch vehicle flight operations and provide a testbed for RLV technology component tests. Testing of various X-34 models will continue through the summer and fall. Interviews, photos and video B-roll are available.

NASA HQ Public Affairs Contact: Jim Cast (202) 358-1779

NASA Langley Public Affairs Contact:Ann Gaudreaux (757) 864-8150

X-33 WIND TUNNEL TESTING: The media is invited to view selected X-33 wind tunnel testing.Tunnel testing for various X-33 models is scheduled through mid-July. Interviews, photos and video B-roll are available.

NASA HQ Public Affairs Contact: Jim Cast (202) 358-1779

NASA Langley Public Affairs Contact: Ann Gaudreaux (757) 864-8150

Lockheed Martin Public Affairs Contact: Jerry Rising (805) 572-3190

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Coming News:

July:The Mesosphere-Thermosphere Emissions for Ozone Remote Sensing (METEORS) instrument will be launched into the Earth's upper atmosphere from the White Sands Missile Range. The METEORS data will be used to better design a satellite instrument that is scheduled to fly early in 2000. Contact: Ann Gaudreaux (757) 864-8150

September: During a space walk, STS-86 astronauts will retrieve the Mir Environmental Effects Payload (MEEP) from the Mir space station. MEEP was attached to Mir in March 1996 (during STS-76) to study the types and effects of space debris in low Earth orbit. Contact: Catherine Watson (757) 864-6122

November:The Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument is scheduled for launch aboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite via a Japanese rocket. CERES will provide global data on the Earth's clouds and energy budget as part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth program. Contact: Catherine Watson (757) 864-6122

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