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For Release: Immediately

Release No. 97-034

NASA Langley Story Opportunities - May 1997

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

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

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

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Coming News:

June:The Measurement of Air Pollution from Satellites (MAPS) instrument is scheduled to be attached to the Russian space station Mir. MAPS will study global carbon monoxide pollution for one year. Contact: Catherine Watson (757) 864-6122

July: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: Catherine Watson (757) 864-6122

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: Catherine Watson (757) 864-6122

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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