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For Release: Sept. 15, 1997

RELEASE NO. 97-112


HIGH-PERFORMANCE MATERIAL IS A WINNER.A high-performance composite material with a potential market of billions of dollars has been picked as one of the 100 most technologically significant new products and processes of 1997. The material, a high temperature resin called LaRC™ PETI-5, was developed by NASA Langley. It was selected as part of Research and Development magazine's annual R&D 100 Awards competition. PETI-5 materials technology has already been licensed to four companies and was recently selected as the composite matrix resin and adhesive by the NASA-industry team developing technology for a future U.S. supersonic civil airliner. Interviews available.

Public Affairs Contact: Keith Henry (757) 864-6120;

STUDENT RESEARCHERS TO SURVEY MARTIAN ATMOSPHERE.As the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) repeatedly dips into the Martian atmosphere to slow itself down, graduate students from the George Washington University Joint Institute for Advancement of Flight Sciences (JIAFS) at NASA Langley will gather unique data on the vertical structure of the planet's upper atmosphere. Hundreds of vertical structure measurements of the Martian atmosphere will be obtained, compared to only three in the past (two from the Viking missions and one from the recent Pathfinder mission). Interviews, images and video animation are available.

Public Affairs Contact: Catherine Watson (757) 864-6122;

ASTRONAUTS RETRIEVE NASA LANGLEY PAYLOAD.During a space walk, Atlantis/STS-86 astronauts will retrieve the Mir Environmental Effects Payload (MEEP) from the Mir space station. MEEP was attached to the outside of the Russian space station Mir in March 1996 (during STS-76) to study the long-term effects of the space environment on selected and proposed International Space Station materials, and to study the effects of impacts from space debris. Interviews, photos, a fact sheet and video b-roll are available.

Public Affairs Contact: Catherine Watson (757) 864-6122;

UNDERSTANDING OZONE CHEMISTRY OVER THE ARCTIC.This month, NASA Langley scientists will join with several dozen international colleagues to study the ozone layer over the Arctic. The field mission (using the NASA ER-2, balloons, satellites and a NASA Langley atmospheric computer model) will help scientists better understand the important chemistry of the ozone layer in this region, and help them improve their atmospheric chemistry models. Interviews, data images and ER-2 video b-roll are available.

Public Affairs Contact: Catherine Watson (757) 864-6122;

SAFER AIRPLANE LANDINGS.NASA is developing a system that will keep airplanes moving more safely and with fewer delays at airports day or night, regardless of visibility. Flight tests were conducted last month at Atlanta-Hartsfield Intl. Airport. The system is being studied by airline and industry executives, officials of the Federal Aviation Administration and other government agencies for possible use. Interviews, photos and video b-roll are available.

Public Affairs Contact: Keith Henry (757) 864-6121;

NASA LANGLEY HELPING MAKE THE SKIES SAFER.NASA Langley has been put in charge of NASA's $500 million Aviation Safety Program. The goal is to reduce the fatal aircraft accident rate by 80 percent in 10 years and 90 percent in 20 years. Flying is the safest of all major modes of transportation, but more technological advances are needed to prevent a rise in accidents if air traffic triples as predicted in the next 20 years, according to Michael Lewis, program manager. Program partners include the Federal Aviation Administration, the aviation industry and the Department of Defense. Interviews, photos, fact sheets and video b-roll are available.

Public Affairs Contact: Michael Finneran (757) 864-6121;

BREAKING THINGS AT NASA LANGLEY.With a loud snap, a 22-foot by 10-foot structure being developed for NASA's next-generation launch vehicles was deliberately "broken" to test the design and materials used in its construction. The full-scale segment of a composite fuel tank structure for the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) program was tested to validate the design, fabrication and analysis tools needed for the development of the Nation's next-generation RLVs. The shell and ring frames of the structure are made from an advanced high-temperature graphite/bismaleimide composite. Interviews, photos, fact sheets and video b-roll are available.

Public Affairs Contact: Ann Gaudreaux (757) 864-8150;


Coming News:

November:The Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument is scheduled for launch aboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite via a Japanese rocket. CERES will provide global data on the Earth's clouds and energy budget as part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth program. Interviews, facts sheets and video b-roll are available.

Public Affairs Contact: Catherine Watson (757) 864-6122;

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