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ATO # 95 - February 4, 2000

PART 1: Upcoming Chats
PART 2: Black History Month Chats
PART 3: Project News
PART 4: Making Jets Quieter, Faster, Cleaner, and Fuel Efficient


QuestChats require pre-registration. Unless otherwise noted, registration
is at:  http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/chats/#chatting

Thursday, February 10, 2000 10 AM - 11 AM Pacific
Aerospace Team Online QuestChat with Kelly McEntire

Kelly McEntire manages a small group of mechanical, aerospace and
structural engineers, responsible for supporting the aeropropulsion
engineers (a.k.a., rocket scientists) in their lab.   
Read his biography at

Wednesday, February 16, 2000, 1:00 PM
Regimes of Flight Chat with Steve Smith

Steve Smith is an aerospace research engineer who studies how airplanes
will perform at different speeds. Right now he's researching supersonic
flight and he uses computers, wind tunnels and is build his own plane.
Read his bio at

Thursday, March 2, 2000 10 AM - 11 AM Pacific
Aerospace Team Online QuestChat with Earl Duque

Earl Duque studies how air flows around, through, and under objects such
as wings, propellers and aircraft vehicles.
Read his biography at


February is Black History Month. To celebrate, NASA Quest will host a
series of QuestChats and forums with African American scientists and
engineers who contribute their work in support of NASA's mission and
goals. The schedule which may be added to over time can be found at

Some of these are of special interest to Aerospace Team Online

Tuesday, February 8 - Thursday, February 10, 2000 Pacific
Forum(questions not answered live during a three day period) with
Julie Williams-Byrd
Electronics Engineer/Aerospace Technologist, Langley Research Center

Julie designs and builds lasers to investigate the makeup of the
Read her biography at

Tuesday, February 8, 2000, 9:00 AM Pacific
Chat with Kim Hubbard, Computer Scientist

Kim works on system engineering and software development. She has helped
to network computers in space.
Read her biography at

Thursday, February 24, 2000, 9 AM Pacific

Chat with Aprille Ericsson-Jackson, Ph.D., Aerospace Engineer
Aprille works on guidance, navigation and control, and design analysis at
Goddard Space Flight Center
Read her bio at http://quest.nasa.gov/space/frontiers/ericsson.html


Sneak preview the "Regimes of Flight" a new resource for
teachers and students about flight at different speeds. This will be
targeted for grades 4-8. You will find background material, lesson plans,
chats and contests!! For more information see

- - - - - - 

Regimes of Flight Class Mural Contest, Grades 4-8
January 25 - March 2,2000
Choose one regime of flight: low, medium, high, supersonic, or hypersonic.
Classes submit a mural that visually depicts not only the definition and 
description of the category, but also visually depicts aircraft from that
category (Note: Key word "visually" means no words).

For more information: go to

[Editors Note: For a change I sending a chat archive instead of a journal this week. I hope this will motivate some of you to join us in a chat this month. There's plenty of room for your questions! This chat was with Kelly McEntire. Read his bio at http://quest.nasa.gov/aero/team/mcentire.html ]


Turbomachinery Branch Chief
NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 5 - 09:28:57 ]
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.

[Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] How are you making jet
engines more powerful and fuel efficient?

[ KellyMcEntire/GRC - 26 - 10:11:15 ]
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  
pollution, 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.

[Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] What new alloys make jet
engines lighter?

[ KellyMcEntire/GRC ]
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.

[Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] Have you had any problems
with space engine designs?

[ KellyMcEntire/GRC ]
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.

[Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] Are you using any new types   
of fuel for spaceships?

[ KellyMcEntire/GRC ]
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.

[kACEY-Mrs.Choate/ViennaGrade] Mrs.Choate/ViennaGrade In about 20
years from now, which planets do you think we could visit?

[ KellyMcEntire/GRC ]
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?

[Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] How does computer technology
aided in the design of the jet engine?

[ KellyMcEntire/GRC ]
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.

[Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] How high can a plane with a 
jet engine fly?

[ KellyMcEntire/GRC ]
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.

[Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] What are the frequent modes
of failure in the jet engines?

[ KellyMcEntire/GRC ]
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.

[Dean-Mr.Richard/homeschool] What current project are you involved in? 

[ KellyMcEntire/GRC ]
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 trying 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 noise 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.

[Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] What are the ups and downs    
with working with jet engines?

[ KellyMcEntire/GRC ]
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.

[Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] How long do jet engines

[ KellyMcEntire/GRC ]
Jet engines last many years. Engines can be repaired just like a car
engine to make them last longer. Parts that wear out are replace.

[Dean-Mr.Richard/homeschool] What kind of plane/plane engine has 
benifited man the most?

[ KellyMcEntire/GRC ]
I think type of plane that has benefited man the most is the passenger
jet. It given all of us the ability to travel virtually anywhere on earth
whenever we want to. 

[Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] Are there any plans to make
any new designs in space vehicles?

[ KellyMcEntire/GRC ]  
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 several new rocketships to do this.

[Ms.Metcalf/Yokayoschool-Ms.Metcalf/Yokayo] What advice could you give
to young people about a career in science?

[ KellyMcEntire/GRC ]
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 described with science.
When an apple fell on the head of Sir Issac Newton, he figured out a way
using math to describe its fall. This was Calculus. Calculus is not
something scary, but something cool, because it describes nature.

[Ms.Metcalf/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.

[ KellyMcEntire/GRC ]
You're 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. A very special thanks to Kelly McEntire for sharing his time,
experiences and expertise with us online today.

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