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Press Release 98-46

Lori J. Rachul
NASA Lewis Research Center
(Bus: 216/433-8806)


The entrance gates will be wide open as well as the doors to laboratories and research facilities as NASA Lewis Research Center hosts an Open House celebrating NASA's 40th Anniversary. This free event will be held Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This is an opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes look at the ongoing aeronautics and space research NASA Lewis is working on now that will take us into the 21st century. Visitors will see research aircraft, advanced spacecraft designs, high-tech satellite communications, wind tunnels and drop towers. In addition, many of the Center's scientists and engineers will be on hand to share information and answer questions.

Visitors of all ages will also have a lot to see and do through the Discovery FEST (Future Engineers and Scientists in Training) program. At least 20 separate science experiments will be conducted in tents throughout the Center. Visitors will have opportunities to create paper airplanes and effervescent rockets and expand their knowledge of math and science through interactive computer activities.

Other featured attractions include:

  • NASA's KC-135 Zero Gravity Trainer/Microgravity Research Aircraft, more commonly known as the "Vomit Comet" - Used to simulate the zero-G environment in space, the KC-135 flies parabolic maneuvers to give astronauts, engineers and scientists exposure to actual weightlessness. This was also the same aircraft used in filming the weightless scenes in the movie "Apollo 13."
  • NASA's F-16XL - This fast flying research aircraft has been modified with an experimental delta wing similar to the design that likely will be used on the future High-Speed Civil Transport. The F-16XL is currently used to test the airflow surface of the wing while flying at supersonic speeds.
  • X-33 - This 8-foot model (1/8th of the actual size) of a next-generation Reusuable Launch Vehicle has a lifting body which is wedge-shaped with a flat bottom, a radical new aerospike engine and a rugged metallic thermal protection system. First flight test is scheduled for mid 1999 at speeds approaching 15 times the speed of sound.
  • Lewis' Icing Research Tunnel - The world's largest refrigerated icing tunnel has been ensuring flight safety in icing conditions by developing, testing and certifying methods to prevent ice buildup on aircraft.
  • Lewis' Zero Gravity Research Facility - This unique (500 feet deep! That's as deep as the Washington Monument is tall.) facility provides researchers the opportunity to test experiments in a weightless state for up to 10 seconds. Test packages are dropped from the top of the steel vacuum chamber.
  • Lewis' 10- by 10-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel - The largest and fastest of Lewis' wind tunnels, the 10x10 is currently used to test an advanced supersonic engine inlet that is one of the key components of the next-generation High-Speed Civil Transport. Wind speeds in the test section can top Mach 3.5, that's 2300 miles per hours.

Food and beverages can be purchased, along with Lewis and NASA merchandise. Each visitor will also receive a memento.

Admission to the Open House is free, no registration is required and free parking will be available on site. Lewis is located at 21000 Brookpark Road, off I-480 at the Grayton Road exit. For further information call (216) 433-6400 or visit the Lewis Open House web site at:

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