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Tue, Jun 01, 2004

NASA To Highlight Hypersonic Travel At Oshkosh

X-43 Discussion Set For Theater In The Woods

By definition, any discussion about launching the next century of flight has to include NASA. At EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2004 Wednesday (July 28), Theater in the Woods hosts a special NASA evening presentation that will highlight several of the agency's projects, most notably the X-43 Hyper X aircraft and its successful Mach 7 mission over the Pacific Ocean on March 27 this year. The X-43 was the first airborne test of a supersonic combustion ramjet engine (scramjet) and is scheduled to attempt a Mach 10 flight in the fall.

Cam Martin of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards (CA), gave a glimpse of what's in store for attendees of the special evening program. "We are going to have the people who were hands-on with that (X-43) mission, including extensive video footage, and they will talk about this exciting mission," Martin said. "Then they will discuss things that are over the horizon, such as what general aviation airplanes of the future will look like to what would flight on other planets look like. Our goal is to make the evening program informative and entertaining."

Martin, whose first trip to Oshkosh was in 1989, said the EAA event is especially popular among NASA types because of the audience. "We were glad that Tom Poberezny thought of us in context of the theme, Launching the Next Century of Flight, because that's what draws people out here to the flight research center," he said. "Everyone who works here is well aware of Oshkosh. The things that we work with day to day, the things that we resonate with also resonate very much with the AirVenture audience."

Every year NASA has more people who want to tell their particular story at Oshkosh, Martin said. "It's always energizing for us to come, because the AirVenture audience is one that understands the intricacies of the work we do, where the challenges are. When someone in one of our fabrication shops finds a new way to attack a problem, there are a lot of hands-on fabricators at Oshkosh who appreciate such elegant solutions, things that are simple." NASA and EAA embody everything from the concept to the application to actually going out and flying something, he added.

While the final roster of presenters has not been finalized, count on representatives from a variety of NASA locations, what Martin called the NASA Aeronautics Enterprise. Dryden is assembling and coordinating the program.

"When we fly the Hyper X, we are part of a team that spans the country, he explained. "That is part of the challenge: to translate the level of teamwork involved."

Martin, who is a YE flight leader (12 kids, all in sail planes), added, "It's exciting and encouraging for us when the invitations come our way. I really appreciate all the things EAA does."

FMI: www.eaa.org

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