NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., celebrates a year of accomplishments that stretched near, far and wide. Credit: NASA/Kathy Marshall-Guild
This image shows a close-up of track marks from the first test drive of NASA's Curiosity rover. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3) was launched by sounding rocket at 7:01 a.m. Monday from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith
Dropped from only 2.25-feet, the 18,000 pound Orion test article still makes a sizable splash in the first vertical drop test at NASA Langley's Hydro Impact Basin. Credit: NASA/Michael Finneran
A NASA Langley team will capture long range images of the SpaceX launch with the help of a sophisticated camera and telescope system that's on a gyro-stablized tracking mount. Credit: NASA/Cory HustonThe successful SpaceX launch of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule on May 22 marked the first commercial spaceflight carrying cargo to the International Space Station. It was also captured in visual and thermal imagery by the Scientifically Calibrated In Flight Imagery (SCIFLI) team, based here at Langley. SCIFLI had two long-range optical systems trained on the SpaceX launch: one on the ground near Daytona Beach, Fla., and the other on board the former space shuttle solid rocket booster recovery ship, Freedom Star, off the northeastern U.S. coast. Mother Nature was good to one of the teams, less charitable to the other. Another of NASA's commercial space partners, Sierra Nevada Corporation, tested a buffet model of its Dream Chaser lifting body spacecraft in Langley's Transonic Dynamics Tunnel in the spring. The scale model, based on the Langley HL-20 design, was mated to a scale version of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket for the test. Engineers looked at the pressure fluctuations the model and stack experienced during simulated launch and ascent to orbit, especially at transonic speeds. This kind of data is important because the Dream Chaser is a blunt-nosed winged body, a potentially complex spacecraft shape to fly on the tip of a rocket.
The Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation Program (HIFiRE) launches an experimental hypersonic scramjet vehicle from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii during a recent research flight. Credit: AFRLA team that included engineers from NASA Langley and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) celebrated the successful May launch of an experimental hypersonic scramjet research flight from the Pacific Missile Range Facility. located on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. NASA, AFRL and Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation are working with a number of partners on the HIFiRE (Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation Program) program to advance hypersonic flight – normally defined as beginning at Mach 5 or five times the speed of sound. During the experiment the scramjet climbed to about 100,000 feet in altitude aboard a sounding rocket, accelerated from Mach 6 to Mach 8, and operated about 12 seconds – a big accomplishment for flight at hypersonic speeds. It was the fourth of a planned series of up to 10 flights under HIFiRE and the second focused on scramjet engine research. "This is the first time we have flight tested a hydrocarbon-fueled scramjet accelerating from Mach 6 to Mach 8," said NASA Langley hypersonics expert Ken Rock. "This test has given us unique scientific data about scramjets transitioning from subsonic to supersonic combustion – something we can't simulate in wind tunnels.”
Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) with Langley-built avionics box. Credit: NASA
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The Cirrus SR-22 aircraft can also be remotely piloted from the ground. Seen here in the Langley ground station are hardware technician Artie Jessup (left), principal investigator Harry Verstynen (center) and project manager Frank Jones (right) -- all part of the North Dakota flight test demonstration team. Credit: NASA/Sean SmithNASA Langley is part of ongoing research efforts to help allow more use of unmanned aircraft systems in U.S. skies. This fall, a team comprised of government, a not-for-profit research and development organization and academia completed two weeks of flight testing "sense and avoid" technology that could one day help unmanned aircraft better integrate into the national air transportation system. The MITRE Corporation and the University of North Dakota (UND) developed automatic sense and avoid computer software algorithms that were uploaded onto NASA Langley's Cirrus SR-22 aircraft. The plane flew 147 maneuvers during 39 hours of flight tests in airspace near the Grand Forks International Airport. A supporting UND aircraft flew more than 40 hours during the tests. The data from the flight test will validate work done in simulation and help engineers determine how they can design systems so that unmanned aircraft can be safely incorporated into the skies.
National Aviation Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Credit: NASA/Rich WahlsAeronautics engineer Richard T. Whitcomb, whose legendary NASA research contributions made supersonic flight practical, joined other aerospace pioneers in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio, in October. Whitcomb, who died in 2009 but had spent his entire career at NASALangley, made three of the most significant and practical contributions to aeronautics in the 20th century, including the "area rule," supercritical wing and winglets. "Dick Whitcomb's intellectual fingerprints are on virtually every commercial aircraft flying today," said Tom Crouch, noted aviation historian at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.
About 10,000 people visited NASA's Langley Research Center on Saturday, September 22nd for the 95th Anniversary Open House. Foot traffic covered the sidewalks, with guests having the option of 21 tour stops, and dozens of hands-on activities and exhibits. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith
The Researcher News
NASA Langley Research Center
Editor & Curator: Denise Lineberry
Executive Editor & Responsible NASA Official: Rob Wyman