NASA News

NASA Langley Research Center
757-864-6121
01.04.10
 
MEDIA ADVISORY : 10-001
 
 
NASA Langley Forecast
 
 
SPACE CAPSULE CONCEPT UNDERGOING TESTS AT LANGLEY
A team of composite experts have designed, fabricated -- and are now testing -- an all-composite space capsule for possible use on future spacecraft designs. The capsule is at NASA Langley for the tests, expected to run through March. NASA has never certified composites for a human-rated spacecraft structure. But advanced composite materials, already in use for race cars, business jets and high-end sports equipment, look attractive because they are stiff and lightweight, and can be formed into complex shapes that may be more structurally efficient. NASA plans call for astronauts to be carried in space capsules at liftoff and re-entry in future spacecraft after the Space Shuttle fleet retires.
For more information, contact Keith Henry at 757-864-6120 or h.k.henry@nasa.gov

LANGLEY VISITOR'S CENTER TO RECOGNIZE PIONEERS
NASA Langley's official visitor's center, the Virginia Air & Space Center (VASC), will celebrate three big events in the first quarter of 2010. To honor February's African-American History Month and Women's History Month in March, the VASC plans to host two NASA astronauts. March also marks the IMAX opening of Hubble 3D, a movie that chronicles the May, 2009 Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission.
For more information: Kathy Barnstorff at 757-864-9886 or Kathy.barnstorff@nasa.gov

ROCKET SCIENTISTS HAVE FIGURED OUT A WAY TO MAKE THEIR ROCKETS BETTER
A combination of new manufacturing technologies has resulted in a process that allows the huge top end-cap, or dome, of rocket liquid fuel tanks to be made better, simpler and cheaper. Instead of welding together many pie-shaped sections, NASA researchers and their contractor team have demonstrated an alternative method. A solid-state joining process is used to fabricate a circular plate, which is then rotated and spun-formed using an advanced metal working process that applies pressure to the plate. The resulting dome is stronger and up to 25 percent lighter. NASA's Langley and Marshall centers partnered with Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver, Colo., and MT Aerospace in Augsburg, Germany, on the demonstration project.
For more information, contact Keith Henry at 757-864-6120 or h.k.henry@nasa.gov

NASA HELPS KEEP BOAT OWNERS FROM RUNNING OUT OF GAS
Boat owners now have a better idea of the amount and purity of their fuel thanks to a NASA-developed wireless sensor technology. Originally developed as a damage detection system for inflatable space structures, NASA Langley engineers adapted the sensor technology to solve two common fuel problems for boaters: how much fuel is left in the tank and is the tank contaminated with water? A unique safety feature allows the sensors to be completely enclosed so the fuel level can be measured without fuel or fuel vapors coming into contact with electrical components. This eliminates the potential for combustible fuel vapors being ignited by arcing from damaged or exposed electrical components.
For more information, contact Chris Rink at 757-864-6786 or christopher.p.rink@nasa.gov

CLARREO TO MEASURE CLIMATE WITH NEW ACCURACY
NASA has tapped NASA Langley to lead a new mission that will deliver the most accurate climate measurements to date and give policy- and law-makers the data they need to combat climate change. The Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) Mission is founded on the need for an absolute benchmark from which to measure future climate changes and test climate prediction models. Langley's Science and Systems Engineering directorates have been working on the mission formulation phase for about a year, with 50 scientists and engineers devoted to the mission. Current cost estimates range from $600 million up to $1 billion, and a tentative launch date is set for 2016. Langley will eventually have about 150 full-time employees devoted to CLARREO. The mission will be the single largest effort led by Langley since Viking in the 1970s. It was designed in response to the Earth science community's greatest needs and has been designated a highest-priority mission by the National Academy of Sciences.
For more information, contact Chris Rink at 757-864-6786 or christopher.p.rink@nasa.gov

SPACE SHUTTLE TO LAUNCH TWICE IN WINTER, 2010
Former NASA Langley researcher Steve Robinson is part of the Endeavour crew for STS-130, a space shuttle mission to the International Space Station set to launch Feb. 7. Current NASA Langley engineers also participate on damage assessment and impact dynamics teams during shuttle missions. Space shuttle Discovery is set to lift off about a month later, also heading to the Station. Discovery's high-speed return through the atmosphere will provide more data to the NASA Langley team looking at the effects of extreme aerodynamic heating, an aid for future spacecraft and aircraft designers, called the Hypersonic Thermodynamic Infrared Measurements experiment (HYTHIRM).
For more information: Kathy Barnstorff at 757-864-9886 or Kathy.barnstorff@nasa.gov

NASA TESTS MOON TECHNOLOGIES
The latest episode of the Emmy award-winning video show, "NASA 360," produced in partnership between NASA Langley and the National Institute of Aerospace, shows viewers how NASA uses deserts, lakes and oceans to prepare astronauts to survive on the moon. The show travels to three locations in North America to chronicle lunar technology development. The half-hour "NASA 360" appears on TV outlets around the world and is a popular nasa.gov vodcast, downloaded more than 1.6 million times in a little more than a year.
For more information: Kathy Barnstorff at 757-864-9886 or Kathy.barnstorff@nasa.gov

SPEAKER SERIES
Daytime presentations to employees at NASA Langley are held on the first Tuesday of each month at 2 p.m. in the Reid Conference Center (except as noted). Media are invited to interview speakers at a news conference at 1:15 p.m. prior to the talk. The public is invited to similar free presentations at 7:30 p.m. at Virginia Air and Space Center, Hampton (except as noted).
For more information, contact Chris Rink at 757-864-6786 or christopher.p.rink@nasa.gov
  • Jan. 12 - Environmentally Responsible Aircraft Project by Faye Collier (Notes: in Pearl Young Theater, no evening Sigma talk)
  • Feb. 12 - Consequences of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack by William R. Forstchen
  • March 12 - Presentation by Captain Robert L. Sumwalt, NTSB, Aviation Accident Investigations



NASA Langley press releases are available automatically by sending an e-mail message to langley-news-request@lists.nasa.gov with the word subscribe in the subject line. You will receive an e-mail asking you to visit a link to confirm the action. To unsubscribe, send an e-mail message to langley-news-request@lists.nasa.gov with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.
 

- end -


text-only version of this release