Press Release

NASA Brings Exploration’s Future to EAA Oshkosh Airventure 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
July 22, 2005
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Aircraft flying over Mars and supersonic transports so quiet they can fly over land on Earth are in NASA’s view of the future at Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture 2005, July 25-31 in Oshkosh, Wis.

NASA scientists, engineers, educators, and communicators bring a slice of tomorrow to the EAA’s annual air show, in an exhibit that reaches for the sky. The exhibit will showcase Aeronautics — the first “A” in “NASA.” The exhibits will include other NASA programs that contribute to the Vision for Space Exploration. The exhibits will display the diversity of skills and technology that NASA brings to support the Vision for Space Exploration and its recurring research theme: Earth, Moon, Mars, and beyond.

Earth is represented in a wide array of aeronautical advancements intended to make flying safer, more accessible, quieter, and more efficient. Interactive displays also will showcase how NASA scientists use exotic high-flying aircraft and satellites to take the environmental pulse of our home planet.

Visitors will experience a “journey” to the Moon and Mars when in the interactive Exploration Dome. The Dome is a 95-square-foot hexagon-shaped exhibit. Those who enter the Dome will find themselves in a three-dimensional theater featuring a five-screen presentation that turns the dome’s interior into a seamless floor-to-wall-to-ceiling display of other worldly destinations.

Mars as a stop on the way to work in deep space will be featured by an exhibit about a remotely operated Mars airplane. NASA engineers are using their Earthbound research to develop a remotely operated aircraft. It could be deployed from a spacecraft in the Martian sky. The aircraft could be programmed to gather data at an altitude and speed that is above that attainable by surface rovers and below that of orbiters.

A special flight test device that enabled NASA engineers to eject pieces of Space Shuttle fuel tank insulating foam at supersonic speeds will be in the NASA display. This unique hardware allowed NASA to map the characteristics of foam debris to help make future Space Shuttle launches even safer.

Since the next launch of the Space Shuttle may coincide with the show, the NASA exhibits building will provide the public with live television coverage of that event. Launch is currently scheduled for no earlier than 10:39 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 26, from the Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Visitors will be able to hear from NASA engineers how mathematical formulas that explain how birds and fish move in flocks and schools can be programmed to keep a swarm of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) out of each other’s way in a fluid grouping that is more sophisticated and flexible than a traditional piloted formation. A possible result might be networked UAVs teaming to help safely fight wildfires, or conduct coordinated search and rescue efforts.

NASA specialists and industry continue to evolve the Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS), intended to make personalized air travel more accessible to more people. Small airplanes with sophisticated, yet intuitive, navigation capabilities could bring the dream of personal flight to thousands of people who now rely on commercial airlines or crowded freeways. SATS could help relieve overloaded airline hub terminals by letting people fly directly to smaller airports near their destinations.

Educators and parents can learn about NASA educational materials and programs from NASA education specialists at the show. Aerospace craftspeople will be on hand to reveal some mysteries of science, and to show how they create the experiments that have propelled America forward as a leader in aerospace technologies.

NASA representatives are also scheduled to give Forum talks throughout the run of the show. On Thursday, July 28, NASA Associate Administrator for Aeronautics Dr. J. Victor Lebacqz will address NASA Aeronautics in 21st Century at 12:30 p.m. EDT.

For more about NASA’s aeronautics programs on the Internet, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.