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January 12, 1999
QuestChat with Kelly McEntire

Turbomachinery Branch Chief
NASA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, OH

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 5 - 09:28:57 ]
Hello to our early arriving chat participants! Today's Aerospace Team Online chat with Kelly McEntire from NASA Lewis Research Center will begin at 10:00 a.m., Pacific Standard Time. Be sure you have read Kelly's profile at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/space/team/mcentire.html before joining this chat.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 6 - 09:29:27 ]
Once the chat begins, Kelly will attempt to answer as many of your questions as he can, but please be patient. We may use "moderation" during the chat if Kelly falls behind with our questions. This means that only a few questions will be posted to the chat room at a time. Don't worry if your questions do not appear on your screen immediately during moderation. They will be held in our chat queue and posted as Kelly answers those ahead of you.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 7 - 09:29:55 ]
As a reminder, remember to enter "Your Handle" in the box provided, before posting questions to the chat room. Once you've done this, please let us know that you have logged on for today's chat.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 8 - 09:30:17 ]
At the conclusion of today's chat, we ask that you take a few minutes to let us know what you thought about it. For your convenience, you may use our online feedback forms at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys. We look forward to hearing from you!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 17 - 10:06:35 ]
Hello and welcome to today's Aerospace Team Online chat with Kelly McEntire from NASA Lewis Research Center. Kelly is involved in jet engine engine research. He manages a group of 12 engineers that turn the ideas of the groups' lab rocket scientists, also known as aeropropulsion researchers, into reality. All members of the team are involved in mechanical engineering and, as Kelly explains, the job of an engineer is to turn the ideas of today into the realities of tomorrow.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 19 - 10:06:56 ]
And now, here is Kelly McEntire to answer your questions.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 26 - 10:11:15 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] How are you making jet engines more powerful and fuel efficient?
The thrust in today's research is not to make them more powerful, we already know who to do that. It is to make them quieter, faster, less polution, and of course more fuel efficient. There are many ways that are being looked at to make engine more fuel efficient. I am a mechanical engineer, a chemical engineer could better answer that questions. Some ways that I am aware of are to make them burn hotter and to improve the way fuel is injected into the engine.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 29 - 10:13:21 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] What new alloys make jet engines lighter?
We are trying many different kinds of materials which include aluminum alloys and graphics composite materials. We must use alloys that have a high heat tolerance so they won't melt when the fuel burns. Higher temperature usually means more efficient enginers.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 30 - 10:14:25 ]
RE: [Christina-MMrs.Choate/ViennaGrade] In the future, if you wanted to travel in space for a year, how much do you think it would cost?
I think we will be able to buy a ticket to space in another 10 years. It will still cost a lot. Maybe $5000 for a 1 hour ride up into space.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 31 - 10:16:55 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] Have you had any problems with space engine designs?
The biggest problem with space engine design is that you have to carry oxygen with you. Oxygen is heavy. The atmosphere up to a certain point has lots of oxygen already present, so we are trying to come up with an engine that will burn the oxygen from the air when its present so you don't have to carry the extra weight and once you get up so high there is not enough oxygen to help burn the fuel, it then uses it own that is carried on board.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 33 - 10:18:35 ]
RE: [Katie-MMrs.Choate/ViennaGrade] Over 20 years from now, what kind of clothes do you think we will wear in outerspace?
We will probably still wear the same types of spacesuits. If you are floating outside a rocketship, you'll need lots of protection. If you are inside like in the International Space Station, almost any cloths will do.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 35 - 10:20:27 ]
RE: [Asley-MMrs.Choate/ViennaGrade] At about the time you retire, what kind of food do you think we will eat in outerspace?
It is hard to predict the future. We will always need the basics like milk, grains and vegetables. Hopefully the food engineers will be able to come up with food that is not dried out like what astronauts eat today.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 37 - 10:24:43 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] Are you using any new types of fuel for spaceships?
No, the basic fuels are still hydrogen and oxygen. A rocket engine burns about twice as much hydrogen as oxygen and so it takes much larger tanks to carry it. Hydrogen is also a gas so it has to be compressed or it would take up way too much room. The more we compress it the less room it takes up. We are trying to come up with ways to compress it more or as we call it to densify it. This will allow us to go further with the same size rocket ship.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 38 - 10:25:18 ]
For those of you interested in chatting with other NASA experts, be sure to check our online schedule of events, at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/common/events.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 41 - 10:27:50 ]
RE: [kACEY-MMrs.Choate/ViennaGrade] MMrs.Choate/ViennaGrade In about 20 years from now, which planets do you think we could visit?
I think we will visit Mars within the next 20 years. Today, we are trying to figure out how to send a rocket there. The problem is not can we do it? The problem is will the american taxpayers pay the 100's of billions of dollars it would take to get there?

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 42 - 10:29:30 ]
We will be presenting a special series of chats in celebration of Black History Month. Be sure to check our schedule of chats for Black History Month at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/ltc/special/mlk99.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 44 - 10:31:40 ]
We will also be offering a series of chats celbrating "female firsts." Check our chat schedule for these events, at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/space/frontiers/schedule.html.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 45 - 10:32:02 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] How does computer technology aided in the design of the jet engine?
Yes, we use computer aided design or CAD as we call it all the time. We use software packages call solid modelers that we design the engine with. We are able to see the engine in its entirety before we even build the first part. This helps us to avoid errors and helps us get it right the first time.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 46 - 10:33:11 ]
We would like to remind you to share your thoughts about today's chat with us, at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 48 - 10:34:22 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] How high can a plane with a jet engine fly?
I do now know for sure, but I think the upper reaches of the atmosphere where there is not enough oxygen to help burn fuel is at about 100,000 feet or about 20 miles. Specials engines can burn at higher altitudes. The oxygen gets thinner and thinner.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 53 - 10:36:51 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] What are the frequent modes of failure in the jet engines?
The failure mode that we are most concerned with is a blade in the rotor breaking off. These blades are spinning about about 15,000 revolutions per minutes or 15 Krpm. If ones breaks off, the centrifugal energy will propel it like a bullet. It can fly through into the cabin of the aircraft and kill someone or bring the whole aircraft down.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 57 - 10:41:09 ]
RE: [Dean-Mr.Richard/homeschool] What current project are you involved in?
As a supervisor of a group of engineers, we work on many different projects. Each 1 or 2 engineers are working different projects. One of these projects is called High Speed Research or HSR. We are tyring to develop an engine for the next generation Concord, except this time this aircraft would be used by everyone flying from LA to Tokyo or from New York to Toyko, etc. It would fly at 15000 mph. Another project is one to figure out why jet engines are so noisy. Believe it or not, we don't understand where all the noice comes from. If you have ever been at the end of a runway and heard a jet plane taking off you know how loud it is. Many airports around the world are making laws so planes can't make so much noise are certain times of the day, i.e. when people are trying to go to sleep.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 60 - 10:43:14 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] What are the ups and downs with working with jet engines?
Ha, ha. Mostly things are up. The downs are when you learn that Congress doesn't think building a next generation Concord is important enough to give money to it like they just did. The HSR project is being cut way back.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 61 - 10:44:36 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] How long do jet engines last?
Jet engines last many years. Engines can be repaird just like a car engine to make them last longer. Parts that wear out are replace.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 62 - 10:46:21 ]
RE: [Dean-Mr.Richard/homeschool] What kind of plane/plane engine has benifited man the most?
I think type of plane that has benefitted man the most is the passenger jet. It given all of us the ability to travel virtually anywhere on earth whenever we want to.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 63 - 10:47:55 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] Are there any plans to make any new designs in space vehicles?
Oh yes. The space shuttle is way too expensive to use. We need much cheaper way to get to space, to get satellites up in space, etc. We are working on seveal new rocketships to do this.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 65 - 10:48:59 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] Who designed the stardust mission?
I don't know anything about the stardust mission. It sounds like something the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasedena, California might do.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 66 - 10:50:00 ]
RE: [Dean-Mr.Richard/homeschool] Can planes that use rotors like, say, the Osprey can they go hiegher due to the less oxygen needed?
I am now familar with the Osprey, so I don't know.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 68 - 10:51:25 ]
RE: [KellyMcEntire/LeRC] I am now familar with the Osprey, so I don't know.
That should have come out, I am not familiar with the Osprey.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 70 - 10:54:31 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] What could be challenging in the international space station?
A big challenge will be for the astronauts to stay physically fit when they are up there for many months. In a weightless environment, your muscles don't have to do anything. It is almost like lying in bed for several months. Another challenge will be to get it assembled since it is a very complex beast. There are bound to be unforseen problems that will have to be overcome. When something go wrong in space, you can't run to the hardware store to get something to fix it.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 71 - 10:57:01 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] What advice could you give to young people about a career in science?
Don't let science or math scare you. It is fun. Science describes everything around you. We take for granted the many things that surround us, but all many made objects are there because someone was interested in science. Things that occur naturally can be desribed with science.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 73 - 10:59:43 ]
RE: [KellyMcEntire/LeRC] Don't let science or math scare you. It is fun. Science describes everything around you. We take for granted the many things that surround us, but all many made objects are there because someone was interested in science. Things that occur naturally can be desribed with science.
When an apple fell on the head of Sir Issac Newton, he figured out a way using math to desribe its fall. This was Calculus. Calculus is not something scarey, but something cool, because it describes nature.

[ KellyMcEntire/LeRC - 75 - 11:00:32 ]
RE: [MsMetcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] Yokayo school has a science club for upper elementary students. We are going to space camp, and to the Jason Project this year. The students are very excited about space and NASA. Thank you for your time answering our questions. Have a great day.
Your welcome.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 74 - 10:59:53 ]
At this time, we would like to thank everyone for joining us for today's Aerospace Team Online chat with Kelly McEntire from NASA Lewis Research Center.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 76 - 11:00:37 ]
A very special thanks to Kelly McEntire for sharing his time, experiences, and expertise with us online today.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 77 - 11:01:47 ]
Please visit our online feedback page at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys and share your thoughts about today's chat with us.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 78 - 11:02:19 ]
We also invite you to visit our online schdule of events at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/common/events to learn about upcoming chats with NASA experts.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 79 - 11:02:37 ]
Thank you again for joining us today. Please join us again!


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