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Aerospace Team ONLINE

UPDATE #10 - February 6, 1998

PART 1: Future Plans
PART 2: Chat Schedule
PART 3: Moving to the Wind Tunnel!
PART 4: An Ordinary Week in the Career of an Aeroacoustics Engineer
PART 5: Subscribing & Unsubscribing: How to do it


After our upliftinging live event with Brent Wellman which is
archived at 
some of you are, no doubt, thinking: "What could top that?"  
Don't worry, we still have a few surprises for you!
We are going to spell out the instructions for participating in the 
Design and Essay Contests soon and you can look forward to 
a few weeks more of the Wind Tunnel test journals, also we hope 
to have some journals from the engineers and astronauts 
about the next shuttle simulation at the Verticle Motion Simulator. 

Speaking of the wind tunnel test journals from Fanny Zuniga, 
I hope you are finding these interesting.  We are striving for 
the right balance between technical and understandable.  If you 
have any questions about these journals you can submit them through
email. There is a special  category for these questions and 
they will be archived at 



Wednesday, February 12, 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. Pacific Time: 
Ross Shaw, Wind Tunnel Test Engineer
Ross has run several interesting tests here at Ames and recently worked
as a Test Systems Engineer on the Lunar Propsector Project.
For registration information go to

Please read Ross's biography prior to joining this chat. 


Thursday, February 19, 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. Pacific Time: 
Ray Oyung, Research Coordinator for the Fatigue Countermeasures
For registration information go to 

Ray's studying the effects of sleep loss and jet lag on pilots. 
Read his biography prior to joining this chat.


Stephen M. Jaeger

Monday, November 17, 1997: 

8:00 a.m.: I arrive at work, turn on my computer and make 
coffee. Nothing works at NASA without a computer or coffee. 
The first 30 minutes of the morning is spent reading and answering 
E-mail and phone messages.
9:00 a.m.: I attend an engineering class televised from Stanford
University. This is very convenient for engineers at NASA. We can
go to school by watching the class live over the television rather 
than having to drive all the way to campus. I have been going to this
class three times a week for two months.
10:30 a.m.: I sit in on a presentation by Dr. Vern Rossow. Vern 
Rossow is the senior scientist in our branch. Engineers are always
presenting their ideas to their co-workers. We in turn ask questions 
about his findings and discuss the conclusions of his work. We
also point out any problems he may have overlooked, but we're 
usually very nice about it.
Lunch time: I go for a run around NASA and work out at the gym. 
Since I might be sitting around all day in front of the computer,
it's nice to get out and get some exercise.
1:00 p.m.: I finish writing up a data file for our array processing
software. This data file includes information on the 100
microphones we have installed in our microphone array. The array is an
aluminum wall with microphones mounted in a special pattern
somewhat like the arms of an octopus. The wall will be mounted 
inside a wind tunnel. The array allows us to "see" sound. We can
point the array at a model in a wind tunnel and make color pictures 
of the sound. This allows us to pinpoint the areas on the airplane
model that make the most noise.
5:00 p.m.: I finish the day by writing a brief report for my company
telling them what work I have been doing for the last couple of
weeks. Since my company is providing services for NASA, it is important
that they know the type of work that their employees are
doing for their customers.
6:00 p.m.: Off to karate class.

Tuesday, November 18, 1997: 

8:00 a.m.: I arrive at work and go immediately to watch another 
class over the television.
10:00 a.m.: I make coffee of course and then I spend most of the day
collecting information for another engineer, Dr. Dale Ashby.
His project is to prepare for a wind tunnel test in 1999. 
In this test, a very large model of a jet liner will be placed 
in the 40-by 80-Foot
Wind Tunnel. This wind tunnel is one of the largest in the world. 
The airplane model is almost 60 feet long so the wind tunnel has to be
big. During this test we will be using the microphone array to 
measure the noise that the airplane's wings make during landing. 
This is very important because as jet liners get larger and 
their engines get quieter, the noise created by the wings, flaps and
landing gear becomes more significant. 

My job is to give Dale all the information he needs to 
measure the noise of the model including a list of equipment 
we need, what type of noise measurements we want to make and 
who will be helping out with the test. Often the planning and 
preparation for a wind tunnel test can take three or four years.
Lunchtime: I play volleyball with some friends at lunch. I'm setting 
the ball much better but I still need to work on my overhand
3:00 p.m.: I help out with setting up the microphone array in our 
lab. I have spent most of the last year helping to design the array.
Now that the array has been built, I have been spending a lot of 
time installing the microphones in the aluminum plate and making sure
everything works. 

Wednesday, November 19, 1997: 

8:00 a.m.: Remember: NOTHING works at NASA without a computer 
or coffee.
9:00 a.m.: Off to class.
10:00 a.m.: Cool news! I received my first patent. A patent 
is one of the great milestones of an engineer's career. The patent, 
which I share with three other people, is for an invention that 
can reduce noise when microphones are used in a wind tunnel.
11:00 a.m.: I am called away to help troubleshoot some 
difficulties with the array setup. Nothing ever goes as planned 
and complicated pieces of equipment like the microphone
array have a lot of electronic parts that don't always work 
like they are supposed to. I set up a speaker to test the 
array. The speaker can really crank because we are using a 300 
Watt stereo amplifier, but for this type of test that kind of noise 
will not be necessary. I also designed a round aluminum 
horn to connect with the speaker and provide a uniform
sound source. 
2:00 p.m.: I continue working to provide information 
for Dale's project.
6:00 p.m.: I spend most of the rest of the evening writing 
a newsletter for the AIAA. That's the American Institute of 
Aeronautics and Astronautics. A "friend" of mine volunteered 
me for the job of Newsletter Editor. This task usually takes a 
few hours each month but it's a chance to write articles, 
create artwork, and support my profession. 

Thursday, November 20, 1997: 

8:00 a.m.: Off to class.
10:00 a.m.: I gather with the other members of our microphone 
array team for our weekly meeting. At this meeting we 
discuss how the project is progressing. A complex project 
like the microphone array requires a team effort and the meeting is a
great way to get advice and ideas from the other team members.
11:30 a.m.: I take time out for a long run around the base.
Most of us at NASA get some kind of exercise at lunch. It might be
soccer, rollerblading, hockey, aerobics, running, cycling or
weight-lifting. After a good workout, I can eat my lunch at
my desk while I work. 
1:00 p.m.: I spend the rest of the day working on Dale's 
project and I prepare for a future meeting where we will 
discuss the noise measurements we need to do for Dale's test. 
This work includes making detailed computer drawings of 
test setups, making a list of required equipment and 
composing a list of measurements. I enjoy taking an
idea and creating a detailed drawing on the computer. Even
more exciting is seeing that drawing turned into reality. 
We have many tools and instruments at NASA designed for 
very special purposes including speakers, microphones 
and models. Many of those tools started out as an image 
on my computer screen. 
6:30 p.m.: I attend an AIAA dinner meeting. The AIAA has 
a meeting every month, where engineers and scientists 
talk about everything from designing airplanes to the 
exploration of Mars. This night's speaker, Dr. Michael 
Drory, gave an interesting talk on using artificial 
diamonds for aerospace applications. 

Friday, November 21, 1997: 

8:00 a.m.: I make coffee. We are running out of 
coffee and it's probably my turn to buy more. This is 
a critical situation.
9:00 a.m.: I attend the televised class. The final exam 
is only two weeks away. I hope to do well.
10:00 a.m.: I'm getting back to a project I had put off 
for awhile. Sometimes I have to juggle projects according to their
priority. A task that may have seemed important yesterday 
may have to be put on the back burner when a more urgent opportunity

This project is a computer code that we will use to 
record and process the noise from a starter pistol. We will 
use the starter pistol, which fires blanks, to calibrate the 40- by
80-Foot Wind Tunnel after the modification of its test section is
complete. The wind tunnel test section has been lined with acoustic
fiberglass to eliminate echoes. We will fire the pistol and use the
computer code to record any echoes. We also have a small cannon we can
use. It is very loud in the test section and a lot of fun to fire off!
4:00 p.m.: I help with testing the microphone array. 
We are preparing for a demonstration of the array next week. 
It should work nicely.  

[Editor's Note: Fanny is the Project Manager for an upcoming test of a future supersonic airliner. She has
written several journals about the preparations for this test. See them online with pictures at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/events/test.html ]


By Fanny Zuniga

January 30, 1998 

Tuesday and Wednesday:
Early this week we weren't quite ready to put the model 
in the tunnel. We had a lot of trouble getting all of the 
details ready, mostly details about getting our software to 
talk to every instrument on the model and record the information
accurately. We also had trouble with the automatic warning 
system that we will use to make sure that the model doesn't 
generate more force than either the balance, the model itself, 
or the mounting posts can handle. We can't start our test
without this important safety system working. Fortunately, the
test that is currently in the tunnel wanted more time. So 
everyone agreed last Friday that we would start a few days 
late and try to make up the lost days sometime during the 5 
weeks of our test. So we have set our sights on a Thursday 
move into the tunnel....... 

Starting last week my team has been working two shifts; 
we have day and night teams. This is one way we can cover 
a lot of ground in a short amount of time. In fact, we will 
operate on two shifts throughout the entire test. That 
means there are two complete teams of tunnel operators, 
model mechanics, researchers, electricians, instrumentation 
technicians, etc! No, we don't clone people, so this
demands a lot of communication between all of the people on 
each shift. We take lots of notes! 

On Thursday we were ready to move our model upstairs and 
install it in the tunnel. There is a lot of stuff going on - 
enough to keep 20 people busy 16 hours a day. Installing the 
model in the tunnel is an exciting moment for a wind tunnel 
test team! There's no way I can tell you about all of it. We 
have to take our computer program off of the computers 
downstairs and copy it to the computers in the control room. 
Meanwhile, our model was lifted off the bottom half of the
supporting posts, leaving the top half of both posts attached
to the balance inside the model. All of the electrical cables 
from our instruments run down through the hollow rear post; 
they had been connected, under the floor, to the computers in 
the prep room. Now they are hanging out of the model and will 
be connected to the computer upstairs. The bottom half of the 
posts were pulled out of the floor and taken upstairs too. 

Next our model was placed on a cart and taken up to the 
test section in a big freight elevator. You might wonder 
how we got our big model into the wind tunnel. There is a 
door in the side of the test section so people can go in 
and change parts of the model or fix problems. Unfortunately, 
the model won't fit through that door. So we actually rotated 
the test section 90 degrees - the whole thing is on a giant 
turntable. We then put an overhead crane into it, picked up the
model with the crane, and carried it in. The bottom halves of
the support posts were set into the floor of the tunnel. We 
held the model over those posts and fed all of the instrument 
cables through the rear post so they can run out of the 
tunnel and plug into electronic "black boxes" that will read the
electrical signals. After the cables were fed through, we 
finally mounted the model on the posts and bolted
everything down. We next checked that the model could 
reach the full range of tilt angles (which we call "angle 
of attack"). Last, we rotated the test section back into line
with the rest of the tunnel so the air can flow through the 
test section. Everyone is glad to have reached this major 
milestone in our test. The next big milestone is
actually turning on the wind after everything is checked out! 

We moved all of the software onto computers in the control 
room, and all of our instrument cables were plugged into 
the electronics as well. We are doing a lot of checks to 
make sure everything is OK. We even hung some weight on the 
model to do one last check load to see if our balance was 
talking properly to the new computer. Cameras,
strobe lights, and computers are being put into place for the
mini-tuft imaging system. The tufts were glued onto the 
left hand wing, but didn't stick well enough. The whole job 
had to be redone. 

I'm really tired and looking forward to the weekend! We 
got a lot done, and with luck we will turn the wind on 
in the tunnel for the first time next week! By the way, 
check out 
to learn more about this wind tunnel. And for
the curious out there, 
describes some of the other wind tunnels at NASA Ames 
Research Center (which, by the way, is located near San Francisco,


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