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ATO #114 - July 21, 2000

PART 1: Upcoming Chats
PART 2: New Projects for Fall
PART 3: Predicting Temperature Resistance


 Beat the Heat: Thermal Protection Chats!
 We will be chatting and with researchers from the Space
 Technology Division at NASA Ames Research Center. I think you will find
 this fascinating and a worthwhile topic. This will introduce you to the
 topic of materials for thermal protection and the use of computer models
 for predicting the heat generated by vehicles entering different 
 planetary atmospheres. This is a very important topic for those of you
 who plan to travel in space in the near future.
 Tuesday, July 25, 2000, 1:00 - 2:00  PM Pacific
 Aerospace Team Online QuestChat with Grant Palmer
 When an aerospace vehicle like the Space Shuttle  returns to Earth from
 space, the friction caused by the air rushing past the surface of the  
 vehicle causes it to heat up. Grant Palmer writes computer programs that
 predict how hot these vehicle surfaces will get.
 Read his bio at http://quest.nasa.gov/aero/team/palmer.html
 Tuesday, August 8, 2000, 10 - 11 AM Pacific
 Aerospace Team Online QuestChat with Chuck Cornelison
 Chuck Cornelison, Ballistics Range Manager
 Learn all about it! Read his bio at 


 Virtual Skies is an air traffic management project for students and
 teachers in Grades 9-12. It will be a "project based learning
 activity" with hands on multimedia to enhance student decision making   
 and problem solving skills. Topics to be covered include
 Aviation Navigation, Aviation Weather, Communication Air Traffic
 Management, Airport Design, and Air Traffic Research. Materials will be
 tied to the National Standards in Mathematics, Science, Technology,
 Geography and Language Arts. Stay tuned for more news as we crank up over
 the summer!
 Planetary Flight is an aerospace project for Grades 4-8. (more reason to
 attend summer chats). We know how to fly on Earth but what will it
 take to fly on Mars. This will be an inquiry based learning project to  
 design an airplane to fly on Mars. The stuff dreams are made of!! We will
 also be keeping you posted on this one this summer.

[Editor's Note: Many of you know Grant Palmer a long time member of ATO. He writes computer programs that predict how hot the vehicle surface will get. Read his bio at http://quest.nasa.gov/aero/team/palmer.html ]


by Grant Palmer

June 26, 2000

The Reacting Flow Environments Branch (ASA) and the
Thermal Protection Branch (ASM) are both in the Space
Technology Division (AS). ASA is primarily involved
with developing and applying analysis tools to compute
the environments around aerospace vehicles, CFD
(Computational Fluid Dynamics), engineering tools, and
so on. We also have an experimental program that
mostly works to provide experimental data to validate
the computational tools. ASM is primarily involved in
the testing and design of thermal protection system
(TPS) materials. They also do some material
development work.

The way we usually work together on a project is that 
ASA provides the environments a spacecraft will
experience to the TPS designers over in ASM. The ASM  
people use our data to evaluate their design. We
generally compute the environments from the surface of
the vehicle outwards. They take our results as a
boundary condition and compute the thermal
environment from the surface of the material inward.
Here is a real-life example of ASA and ASM working

NASA Ames was given the task of designing the thermal
protection system for the nose cap and wing leading   
edge for the X-34 vehicle. The X-34 is a space plane that
will demonstrate future technologies. The TSP designers
in ASM wanted to use a material called SIRCA, which
had never been used on this type of vehicle. Therefore,
they needed to perform a lot of analysis beforehand to
determine if it was going to be strong enough and 
temperature resistant enough to do the job. The
engineers in ASA computed surface temperature,
pressure, and heat transfer rate at key points along the
trajectory the vehicle would fly. The ASM designers   
used this data to perform an in-depth thermal and stress 
analysis of the TPS material to confirm their design.

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