NASA News

Rob Wyman
757-864-6120
rob.wyman@nasa.gov
01.04.12
 
NOTE TO EDITORS : 12-001
 
 
NASA Langley Forecast January - March 2012
 
 
EDITOR'S NOTE: Below is a chronological collection of some of the upcoming events and operations conducted by NASA Langley personnel. If you have any questions, contact the listed POC. For general questions about NASA Langley, contact the Center's news chief, Rob Wyman, at (757) 864-6120 or rob.wyman@nasa.gov.

FUTURE SPACEFLIGHT TESTING AT LANGLEY
In January media will have the opportunity to attend the final drop test of the 18,000-pound Orion test article at Langley's Hydro Impact Basin. Testing began in the summer of 2011 to certify the Orion spacecraft for water landings. The Orion will carry astronauts deeper into space than ever before, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during space travel, and ensure a safe re-entry and landing. Orion and its launch vehicle, the Space Launch System, will create jobs and continue America's journey of discovery from the unique vantage point of space. The tentative date is Friday, Jan. 6. For more information, contact Amy Johnson at (757) 864-7022 or amy.johnson@nasa.gov

CERES "FIRST LIGHT" COMING UP
Langley's CERES instrument, launched into orbit aboard an Earth-observing satellite in October, is scheduled to take its "first flight" early in 2012. The Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System instrument will study the energy exchanged between the Sun, the Earth's atmosphere, surface and clouds, and outer space. It is flying with four other instruments aboard NASA's National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP). For more information, contact Michael Finneran at (757) 344-4611 or (757) 864-6110 or michael.p.finneran@nasa.gov

NEW DESIGNS IN GREEN AVIATION
NASA's Environmentally Responsible Aviation project, led at NASA Langley, plans to unveil the latest technology designs for leaner, greener airplanes at a national aerosciences conference in January. Three companies, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and The Boeing Company, have studied advanced concept designs for next-generation aircraft that could enter service in 2025. All final designs have to meet NASA's goals for less noise, cleaner exhaust and lower fuel consumption. For more information, contact Kathy Barnstorff at (757) 864-9886 or kathy.barnstorff@nasa.gov

KEEPING AN EYE ON FIRST COMMERCIAL LAUNCH TO ISS
A team at NASA Langley that had expertise in capturing thermal pictures of the space shuttle at Mach 18 will now turn its lenses towards the first commercial spacecraft headed to the International Space Station. Space Exploration Technologies' (SpaceX) second Commercial Orbital Transportation Services demonstration flight of the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft is scheduled for Feb. 7. Langley's SCI-FLI (Scientifically Calibrated In-Flight Imagery) researchers will train imaging systems, both from on the ground as well as, for the first time, from onboard a ship, at the launch and initial flight stages to observe how everything performs. For more information, contact Kathy Barnstorff at (757) 864-9886 or kathy.barnstorff@nasa.gov

HONORING BLACK HISTORY MONTH
NASA Langley will celebrate the accomplishments of African-American aerospace pioneers with a special event on the science of flight and how it relates to racing on Feb. 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Virginia Air & Space Center in Hampton, Va. Featured at the event will be members of the Tuskegee Airmen, the historic African American World War II pilot squadron, and hands-on "Rockets 2 Racecars" activities, exhibits and programs for children. For more information, contact Kathy Barnstorff at (757) 864-9886 or kathy.barnstorff@nasa.gov

50th ANNIVERSARY OF U.S. ORBITAL FLIGHT
Feb. 20 marks the 50th anniversary of Astronaut John Glenn's historic flight aboard the Friendship 7 Mercury space capsule. The original Mercury 7 astronauts, including Glenn, were assigned to NASA Langley as part of the Space Task Group that was headquartered in Hampton from 1959 until it moved to Houston in September 1962. For more information contact Rob Wyman at (757) 864-6120 or rob.wyman@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. Media are invited to interview speakers at a news conference at 1:15 p.m. prior to the talk. The public is invited to a similar free presentation at 7:30 p.m. at the Virginia Air & Space Center in Hampton, Va. For more information, contact Chris Rink at 757-864-6786 or chris.rink@nasa.gov.

Jan. 10 -- "Improving the View of Air Quality from Space," by James Crawford, atmospheric chemist at NASA Langley. Last July, Crawford, NASA researchers and partners provided an unprecedented view of air pollution over the Baltimore-D.C. metropolitan area. This was the first of four field campaigns for a mission called DISCOVER-AQ (Deriving Information on Surface Conditions from Column and Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality). With two NASA aircraft and an extensive ground network, DISCOVER-AQ provided multiple perspectives on factors that control air quality and influence our ability to monitor pollution from space. As the principal investigator, Crawford will provide an overview of current satellite capabilities and how they will be advanced by the DISCOVER-AQ project.

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