AGREEMENT IS NEW WAY OF DOING BUSINESS AT
NASA, shipyard partner to improve marine vessels
NASA Langley Research
Center in Hampton, Va., will partner with Newport News
Shipbuilding under a potentially wide-ranging agreement
designed to enhance the performance of marine vessels.
The agreement also represents a
new way of doing business at NASA Langley that will make it much
easier and faster for companies to partner with the research
The "memorandum of agreement"
begins with a $50,000 joint effort to "investigate the performance
of flow control technology for marine application." Flow control
technology manipulates the way water flows around a ship or
submarine hull to make the craft more efficient, faster and
"Rapid access to NASA's research
facilities and personnel will allow Newport News Shipbuilding to
expedite the transition of new flow control technologies out of the
laboratory and onto the ship," said Michael L. Powell, director,
Technology Development for Newport News Shipbuilding. "Although the
initial focus is on flow control, our perception of this agreement
is that it opens the door to a wide spectrum of potential ship
improvements. This partnership will marry the world-class research
capabilities of NASA with the strong engineering and production
capability at NNS."
"The beneficiary of this MOA truly
is the U.S. Navy," added Powell, "who will reap the rewards of the
technologies we pursue under this agreement. This is just another
example of our commitment to providing the U.S. Navy with the
world's most capable warships."
Under the agreement, NASA Langley
will use its 20 x 28-Inch Low-Speed Tunnel to analyze the
downstream flow characteristics of flow control devices. NASA
Langley also will help the shipyard optimize the flow control
technology for marine application, with a final report due by Dec.
"This is research that, in its
practical application, will help assure the continued superiority
of our national defense," said Samuel A. Morello, director of the
Technology Commercialization Program Office at NASA
Langley. "Naturally, we're delighted to be able to make this
contribution to the safety and security of the United States."
"The flow control agreement,"
Morello said, "is the first what of he hopes will be many
'annexes,' or additions, to the overall partnership with the
shipyard. The agreement," he said, "is designed so that further
joint efforts with NASA Langley can be put into effect
Morello said the structure of the
agreement will also be used as a model for working with other
businesses. "We want to improve the way we partner with industry,"
he said, "and this is a tool that will let us respond very fast and
effectively to those seeking our expertise or help."
"The beauty of it is that we use a
general, overall agreement as the basis for a partnership, then add
specific annexes as desired. That way you don't have to redraw the
entire agreement every time you want to do something new," Morello
said. "We're zapping the bureaucracy."
Morello said the aerodynamic
research conducted at NASA Langley to improve aircraft can be
applied to the marine environment as well, because the principles
are basically the same. "So this makes our work with the shipyard a
very natural thing to do," he said. "Also, the work that we do with
the shipyard is likely to have applications to aircraft, so it's a
About 70 percent of NASA Langley's
work is in aeronautics research. The Center, the nation's first
civilian aeronautics lab when it was founded in 1917, has helped
improve the performance of virtually every military and commercial
aircraft produced in the United States.
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