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For Release: October 30, 1997

Janice Johnson

(757) 864-6123

RELEASE NO. 97-124

WHY DO AIRPLANES LOOK THE WAY THEY DO?

Sometimes it seems the only thing airplanes have in common is that they all have wings - and even those seem to vary from plane to plane. On Tuesday, Nov. 4, Dr. John Houbolt, a NASA Langley retiree who helped get Americans to the moon, will explain the many factors that influence the way an airplane looks.

During the Apollo program, Houbolt, an aeronautical engineer, conceived and developed the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR). The LOR was the final piece of the puzzle that took humans to the moon and returned them safely to Earth.

Houbolt began his career at Langley Research Center in 1942 and served in a variety of positions before retiring as Langley's Chief Aeronautical Engineer in 1985. Houbolt has received the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award for the conception and development of the lunar orbit rendezvous for manned lunar landings and the Space Act Award for the lunar orbit rendezvous concept. He has authored or co-authored over 140 technical reports.

Houbolt was selected as the 1989 Peninsular Engineer of the Year and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1990.

A media briefing will be held at 1:15 p.m. in the Wythe Room of the NASA Langley H.J.E. Reid Conference Center, 14 Langley Boulevard in Hampton. Media who wish to attend this briefing should contact Janice Johnson at (757) 864-6123. Houbolt's talk begins at 2 p.m.

A similar presentation will be given by Houbolt at 7:30 p.m. at the Virginia Air and Space Center in Hampton.

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