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For Release: July 1, 1997

Keith Henry
Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA

(757) 864-6120/6128

RELEASE NO. 97-045


The public is invited to see behind the scenes July 19 at NASA's first aeronautics and space research center as NASA Langley celebrates its 80th anniversary with an open house.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors will step inside a mammoth wind tunnel, watch a high-speed carriage run where Space Shuttle tires are tested, learn what is being done to increase safety of aging aircraft, experience jet noise and sonic boom demonstrations, see aircraft cockpit simulators in operation and much, much more.

Antique autos will be on display, provided by the Colonial Virginia Model A Ford Club. The display is a recognition that - through technology spinoffs - NASA Langley has made direct and indirect contributions to the U.S. auto industry.

The U.S. Postal Service will provide a special commemorative pictorial cancellation that celebrates NASA Langley's 80th anniversary. A selection of aircraft-related commemorative stamps will be available. As a special treat for children, there will be free coloring and puzzle books.

As now planned, children and adults, alike, may have their photo taken with a NASA astronaut. Visitors may bring their own camera or pay a small fee to have their photo taken during an hour to be determined.

Educational opportunities include free informational materials on NASA programs and projects, aerospace lectures each hour, free aerospace-related movies and a demonstration by the Amateur Satellite Observers of Southeastern Virginia. The "Building Structures in Space" Lego activity challenges children to build structures with space gloves. A judged NASA coloring activity is also planned.

On loan from the Virginia Air & Space Center will be the popular "Spaceball" that will allow children to experience weightlessness.

Educators may want to learn how NASA Langley has used its experience in high performance computing and communications to develop a low-cost networking system for Internet access for the classroom.

Children can take part in model rocket launches sponsored by the National Space Society. Rocket kits will be available at $5. Participating Boy Scouts who arrive at the NASA picnic area by 10 a.m. can earn their space exploration merit badge.

A series of atmospheric science overviews will begin at 9:15 with a special presentation for children. Thereafter,general audience presentations will begin each hour on the hour by top atmospheric scientists in his or her field on subjects from clouds and climate to biomass burning and ozone.

For eight decades, Langley has been instrumental in shaping aerospace history. Established in 1917 as the first national civil aeronautics laboratory, Langley has become a comprehensive, world-class center for research in aeronautics, atmospheric sciences and space technology.

NASA Langley Research Center is located in Hampton, three miles off Interstate 64. Both the main gate, off Commander Shepard Blvd., and the Wythe Creek gate will be open on July 19.

Free parking is provided. Souvenirs, food and beverages will be available for purchase. All facilities are accessible or partially accessible to the disabled. For more information, contact NASA, Office of Public Services, (757) 864-3309 or see "Open House" on NASA Langley's home page at: <>.

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Escorts will be available during open house to assist news media who wish to cover the event. Report to the media center at the Reid Conference Center, B.1222, or call 715-0148 the day of the event.

We would be happy to accommodate those who would like to do a story in advance of the Open House. Historic photos, background materials, a five-minute video news release and interview opportunities are available by calling Keith Henry at 864-6120 or Mary Spracher at 864-6128.


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