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For Release: March 11, 1998

RELEASE NO. 98-012


New Research:

TESTING POSSIBLE NEW BOOSTER FOR SHUTTLE. A Liquid Fly Back Boosters (LFBB) concept is being studied as a replacement for the existing space shuttle solid rocket boosters (SRBs). Wind tunnel tests of the LFBB shuttle configuration are underway at NASA Langley. The LFBB is designed to be a completely reusable liquid-fueled booster that will return to the launch site, using an autonomous landing system, after separation from the orbiter and external tank. The current shuttle SRBs have to be recovered from the ocean and then refurbished for later use. Interviews and photos are available.

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

BUILDING A SUPERSONIC PASSENGER JET. Researchers at NASA Langley are testing a new composite material that may one day be used to build a future supersonic passenger jet. The materials used to build this future jet must endure speeds of more than 1,500 mph, altitudes of 65,000 feet, and aircraft surface temperatures over 300°F. The materials must be strong, lightweight, durable and tolerant to damage. In recent tests, two 40 inch wide by 80 inch long fuselage panels were subjected to more than 400,000 pounds of force before they failed. Interviews and video b-roll are available.

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

NEW SATELLITE RADIOMETER BEST IN ITS CLASS.Preliminary data from the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument, on orbit since late November, indicates that it is performing flawlessly, with better measurement capabilities than any previous instrument of its kind. CERES, launched aboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission observatory on Nov. 27, is beginning to provide long-term global data on the Earth's clouds and their effects on the Earth's energy budget. Interviews, facts sheets, video b-roll and data animation are available.

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

Ongoing Research:

TESTING FUTURE SPACE VEHICLES.Wind tunnel testing of three future space vehicles (the X-33, X-34 and X-38) is ongoing at NASA Langley. Models of various sizes and materials are undergoing testing for ground effects, aerodynamic and aerothermodynamic properties, and dynamic stability in several wind tunnels. Interviews and photo/video opportunities are available.

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

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