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For Release: Nov. 4, 1998

RELEASE NO. 98-091


New Research:

TACTICAL AIRLIFTER TO 'SHOW ITS STUFF' NOV. 6. You've seen it airlift cargo for humanitarian relief. You've seen it support full-scale combat operations. Now you can see the low-cost, high-performance update of this versatile airlifter at NASA Langley Friday, Nov. 6. It's the C-130, the nation's primary tactical transport aircraft. Updated with NASA technologies, the significantly-improved Lockheed Martin C-130J will soon be joining the air forces of the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy and the United States. Call to inquire about flying on one of two demonstration flights. Interviews, video, animation stills and pool still photography are available.

Public Affairs Contact: Keith Henry 757-864-6120,

X-33 Thermal Protection Systems Tested at Langley. The thermal protection system (TPS) is a key technology that the X-33 spacecraft will demonstrate. When VentureStar is built, it's the TPS that will safeguard it from re-entry temperatures as high as 2600 degrees Fahrenheit. Unlike most TPS, where the insulation material is mounted on the outside of the vehicle, X-33's TPS is the vehicle's aerodynamic structural shell. Testing in Langley's High-Temperature Tunnel verified the integrity of the aeroshell TPS when subjected to 2000-degree winds, flowing onto the structure at seven times the speed of sound. Langley continues to perform wind tunnel tests on X-33 models. Interviews, photos, background video are available.

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

Ongoing Research:

FIRST AMERICANS FLY RUSSIAN VERSION OF CONCORDE. What's it like to fly the Russian version of the supersonic Concorde? Ask Robert A. Rivers, a research pilot at NASA Langley Research Center and one of two NASA pilots who recently became the first Americans to fly the super-fast jet. Called the Tu-144, it's the only commercial airplane in the world besides the Concorde flying at Mach 2 — twice the speed of sound. The flights took place in September from the Zhukovsky Air Development Center near Moscow. They are part of a jointly funded activity by NASA's High-Speed Research (HSR) program and the Boeing Commercial Airplane Group to obtain operational experience and experimental flight data on the modified Tu-144 jetliner. Knowledge from the flights will benefit NASA's effort to develop the technology for a second-generation supersonic transport in this country that is affordable, efficient and environmentally friendly. Interviews, photos, and b-roll video are available.

Public Affairs Contact: Ivelisse Gilman, (757) 864-5036,



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