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NASA Aeronautics Research Wins National Recognition

Two NASA aeronautics research efforts have been singled out by a nationally known aerospace magazine for their contributions to the advancement of aerospace.

"Aviation Week and Space Technology" selected the X-43 Hyper-X scramjet and Synthetic Vision Systems teams of NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate for its 48th Annual Aerospace Laurels awards honoring the best in aerospace in 2004.

Pegasus booster ignition for X-43A flight.

Image to right: The Pegasus booster ignites, sending the X-43A vehicle to the edge of the Earth's atmosphere for its record-breaking flight. Credit: NASA

Winning the top prize in the Aeronautics/Propulsion category were Hyper-X program manager Vincent Rausch and engine developer Randall Voland, both at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. The award also cited ATK GASL President Anthony Castrogiovanni, Tullahoma, Tenn., and the X-43 Hyper-X scramjet team "for their completion of the first two free flights of an operating scramjet engine integrated with a representative hypersonic airframe."

The Synthetic Vision Systems (SVS) project, which is part of NASA's Aviation Safety and Security Program, was one of five teams named in the Information Technology/Electronics category. The award cited Daniel Baize, SVS project manager at NASA Langley, and Tim Etherington, principal systems engineer for Rockwell Collins' Situation Awareness Information Systems, Cedar Rapids, Iowa "on behalf of a government-industry-university research team, for bringing SVS and enhanced-vision avionics to an impressive level of functionality, significantly improving aircraft safety during reduced visibility flight conditions."

Gulfstream G5 in flight

Image to left: Gulfstream G5 jet in flight. The Synthetic Vision Systems instruments were tested on board this aircraft over Reno, Nev., in the summer of 2004. Credit: NASA

NASA's X-43A research vehicle screamed into the record books twice in 2004 demonstrating an air-breathing engine can fly at nearly 10 times the speed of sound. During the second flight, November 16, the scramjet-powered research vehicle showed its revolutionary engine worked successfully at Mach 9.68, or 7,000 mph, as it flew at about 110,000 feet. During the aircraft's first flight, March 27, it achieved Mach 6.83, or nearly 5,000 mph. Both flights were achieved with the help of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards AFB, Calif.

NASA's Synthetic Vision Systems project tested integrated versions of the revolutionary cockpit display on a Gulfstream GV business jet last summer in the skies over Reno, Nev. and over the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va. The system gives a pilot a clear electronic 3-dimensional perspective of what's outside, no matter what the weather or time of day. It combines Global Positioning System satellite signals with an on-board photo-realistic database to paint a picture of terrain for the crew.

Synthetic vision system display

Image to right: The Synthetic Vision Systems primary flight display. This is what a pilot using the system would see in the cockpit.

The complete list of winners for all eight categories can be found in the Feb. 21, 2005 issue of Aviation Week magazine. Winners will receive Laurels trophies in Washington, April 5, at a dinner ceremony at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. Their accomplishments will be recounted in the April 25 issue.

NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate is working to advance NASA's long tradition of aviation research and developing technologies to make planes and the airspace they fly in safer, quieter and more efficient. NASA aeronautics research also contributes to the Vision for Space Exploration, which calls for human and robotic missions to achieve new exploration goals, starting with returning the Space Shuttle safely to flight, completing the International Space Station, and beginning missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

For more information about the programs of NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, please visit: