Press Release

NASA Langley Forecast

By SpaceRef Editor
January 6, 2011
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NASA Langley Forecast

Aerospace is Economic Engine for Virginia

NASAs Langley Research Center in Hampton and Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore generate $1.2 billion and more than 10,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. On Feb. 2-3, Langley Director Lesa Roe and Wallops Director William Wrobel will join with representatives of the aerospace industry and academia at AeroSpace Day at the General Assembly in Richmond. Learn how NASAs Virginia facilities, Virginia’s aerospace companies and excellent academic institutions are playing a critical role in advancing the nations future in space exploration, aeronautics and science. For more information, contact Marny Skora at 757-864-6121 or

Space shuttle Discovery to take last flight

The space shuttle Discovery is targeted to lift off on its last voyage Thursday, Feb. 3, at 1:37 a.m. ET. NASA Langley engineers participate in damage assessment and impact dynamics teams during shuttle missions. Discovery’s high-speed return through the atmosphere will also provide more data to the NASA Langley team looking at the effects of extreme aerodynamic heating, an aid for future spacecraft and aircraft designers, called the Hypersonic Thermodynamic Infrared Measurements experiment (HYTHIRM). For more information, contact Kathy Barnstorff at 757-864-9886 or


NASA has a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and save money — in rocket designs. In February, the agency will crush a 27-ft diameter section of rocket casing at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The large-scale test follows a series of smaller scale tests, all aimed at reducing the time and money spent designing and testing future rockets. And by incorporating more modern, lighter high-tech materials into the design and manufacturing process, rockets will save weight and carry more payload. The joint NASA Langley- Marshall tests are funded by NASA’s Engineering and Safety Center (NESC), based at Langley. For more information, contact Chris Rink at 757-864-6786 or

The Fire-Breathing Dragon of Clouds

A “normal” cumulonimbus cloud is imposing enough — a massive, anvil-shaped tower of power reaching five miles (8 km) high, hurling thunderbolts, wind and rain. Add smoke and fire to the mix and you have pyrocumulonimbus, an explosive storm cloud created by the smoke and heat from fire. They have ravaged tens of thousands of acres and are increasing in frequency as the climate changes. For more information, contact Michael Finneran at 757-864-6110 or

NASA and North Carolina TEAM for teacher workshopS

In March, NASA Langley’s Education Office will be busy promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) events in North Carolina. March 1-3, the third annual NASA STEM Educators Workshop series will be held at Whitewater Middle School in Charlotte, N.C., with a theme of “Embrace the Challenge to Innovate.” Aerospace education specialists, along with master educators and coordinators, will lead lessons for area teachers. On March 2-5, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s (CIAA) Tournament and Career Day will educate thousands of students about STEM and opportunities with NASA. For more information, contact Amy Johnson at 757-864-7022 or

NASA Gets Ready To Make A SPLASH

Construction is complete on a new facility at NASA Langley that will be used to certify space vehicles for water landings. The 115-ft long and 20-ft deep Hydro Impact Basin is located at the west end of Langley’s historic Landing and Impact Research Facility, also known as the Gantry. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is tentatively scheduled for late spring. A series of water impact tests will be conducted using Orion drop test articles beginning in the spring of 2011. These tests will initially validate and improve the computer models of impact and acoustic loads used in the design and engineering process, and will ultimately qualify the final vehicle design for flight. For more information, contact Amy Johnson at 757-864-7022 or

NASA 360 airs up in the air

Airline and cruise ship passengers may soon be able to see an Emmy award-winning NASA TV program that shows how NASA technology is part of our lives. The producers of “NASA 360” have reached agreement with Airline Media Productions (AMP) International to air the half-hour show through AMP’s entertainment outlets, including US Airways, Virgin America, Singapore Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Flydubai, Tunisair and a number of cruise ships. “NASA 360” is based at NASA’s Langley Research Center. For more information, contact Kathy Barnstorff at 757-864-9886 or

The robots are coming!

The Virginia Regional FIRST Robotics competition will be held April 7-9 at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center in Richmond. More than a dozen Hampton Roads high school robotics teams, including the New Horizons NASA Knights from Hampton, will compete with robots they designed and built. NASA’s Robotics Alliance Project (RAP) has been supporting participation in the FIRST Robotics Competition by providing grants to high school teams as well as sponsoring FIRST regional competitions. For more, visit or contact Amy Johnson at 757-864-7022,


Daytime presentations to employees at NASA Langley are held on the first Tuesday of each month at 2 p.m. in the Reid Conference Center. Media are invited to interview speakers at a news conference at 1:15 p.m. prior to the talk. The public is invited to free presentations on the same or similar topics at 7:30 that evening at the Virginia Air and Space Center, Hampton. Contact Chris Rink at757-864-6786 or


Clint Cragg, a founding member of the NASA’s Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) at NASA Langley, was a member of the four-person NASA team invited to help with the Chilean miners’ rescue. Cragg subsequently led an NESC team that recommended design requirements for the rescue capsule. Cragg will discuss NASA’s site visit, the situation at the mine at the time, and the assistance NASA provided.

SpaceRef staff editor.