An exciting area full of hands on activities specifically designed to engage children of all ages. Young explorers find inspiration and fun through activities and crafts related to science, technology, engineering and math. The array of fun may include rover races; a solar eclipse demo; making straw rockets; learning about ultraviolet radiation through making your own UV test kit; and exploring paper circuits, salt water etching and more at the Kids Zone Maker Space. Activities are for ages 2 and up.
ISAAC is a robot that promises to give NASA’s Langley Research Center a leg up in the quest to develop lighter, stronger composite structures and materials for aerospace vehicles. One of only three such robots in the world, ISAAC is an adaptation of a standard industrial robot. One of its key features is a large, rotating, disc-like head. The head is typically loaded with as many as 16 spools of carbon-fiber ribbon. The head can be detached and replaced with identical ones loaded with different tools. As a result, transforming the system to work on a new job can be fast.
Researchers at this lab seek to understand, predict, and control the noise of aircraft and its effect on structures and people. The research includes fundamental studies of the noise generated by aircraft and ways to reduce that noise. A special quiet wind tunnel is used to study aircraft noise sources such as wings and landing gear. Other facilities in this building include an anechoic chamber with sound absorbing walls, a reverberant chamber with sound reflecting walls, and two special facilities used to study the impact of noise on people.
The Autonomy Incubator is rising to meet the autonomy and robotics challenges facing our nation and the world. NASA’s need for autonomous systems will grow as it strives to accomplish missions such as asteroid retrieval, planetary exploration, pollution measurements and the integration of drones in our everyday lives. Building on decades of NASA experience and success in the design, fabrication, and integration of safe and reliable automated systems for space and aeronautics, the Autonomy Incubator seeks to bridge the gap between automation and autonomy. The Autonomy Incubator is staffed by researchers with expertise in computer science; robotics; electrical, mechanical and aerospace engineering; psychology; machine vision and machine learning. They are supported by qualified UAS pilots, flight safety personnel, range safety officers, and technicians.
EBF3 is a large-scale metal additive manufacturing process that uses an electron beam to provide the heat to melt metal wire feedstock to deposit (“3D print”) parts. This system has been in use at NASA Langley since 2002, and has been used to build aluminum stiffened panel structures for aircraft skin applications, titanium thin-walled structures for aircraft and spacecraft structures, and nickel structural jackets deposited directly onto copper liners for rocket engines. This system is used for developing new deposition techniques and integrating sensors for real-time process monitoring and non-destructive evaluation during the fabrication process.
In this lab, engineers and technicians do advanced manufacturing, using multi-axis CNC (computer numerical control) machining of metals, creating high-precision parts.
NASA Langley Basic Aerodynamics Research Tunnel (BART) is an open-return wind tunnel dedicated to studying complex flow physics and conducting risk reduction experiments. This helps researchers understand the performance of advanced concepts and refine and improve tests that are later conducted in larger wind tunnels. Using advanced instrumentation systems and measurement techniques, the tunnel is also a highly productive research tool for conducting experiments to help develop and validate computational tools that model and simulate air flows.
The Langley Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel is a closed-circuit, continuous flow, variable density supersonic tunnel with two test sections. Typical tests include force and moment, surface pressure measurements, and visualization of on- and off-surface airflow patterns. Tests involving jet effects, dynamic stability, model deformation, global surface and off-body flow measurements, and heat transfer are also performed. One test section has a design Mach number range from 1.5 to 2.9 and the other has a Mach number range from 2.3 to 4.6. The tunnel can provide continuous variation in Mach number during operation. The maximum Reynolds number per foot varies from 6 x 106 to 11 x 106.
In the Structural Mechanics and Concepts Branch main lab, displays past and present work on soft goods material structures used for manned modules in space and on planetary surfaces. A full-scale expandable surface habitat and inflatable airlock are on display in the lab, along with many components and subcomponents of these structures that have been part of Langley’s work in this area. Tours will describe these elements and how they relate to current and future exploration missions.
Langley’s additive manufacturing (3-D printing) capability makes use of a suite of systems to fabricate unique test articles, models and components in support of projects. Equipment includes FDM, SLA, SLM, object and thermal jet wax printers where parts are printed from plastics, resins, metals and wax. On display is a variety of hardware created from these systems.
This wind tunnel is a hypersonic blow-down-to-vacuum facility designed for fast paced aerodynamic and aero heating studies and offers a wide variety of discrete, global and flow field measurement tools. For over five decades, the tunnel has provided support to commercial, national and international test programs, providing critical data for the development of a wide variety of vehicles. The 31-Inch Mach 10 Tunnel has contributed to major programs including Apollo, Viking, the Space Shuttle Orbiter, Hyper-X and the Mars Science Laboratory and continues to contribute to programs including the NASA Orion Capsule, Commercial Crew capabilities and advanced hypersonic technology demonstration vehicles.
Officially operational in 1984, the National Transonic Facility (NTF) serves NASA, the agency’s commercial partners, and the U.S. military. It is the world’s largest pressurized cryogenic wind tunnel and has a wide variety of instruments that can be customized to tailor to specific tests conditions. Because of this “customization,” many different vehicles are tested in the NTF. The list includes the Boeing 767, the F-18 Hornet, the Grumman X-29, the space shuttle and NASA’s newest spacecraft, Orion and its Launch Abort System.
Originally constructed in 1963 to model lunar gravity, the LandIR is where astronauts including Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin trained for Apollo 11’s final 150 feet descent to the surface of the moon. In 1985, the structure was named a National Historic Landmark based on its considerable contributions to the Apollo program. The landmark has also been used to investigate the crashworthiness of general aviation aircraft and rotorcraft, and more recently to improve the performance of emergency transmitters. The LandIR is also used to conduct drop tests of our Orion spacecraft to ensure safety for astronauts as they splashdown in the ocean during future missions.
Built in 1951, NASA Langley’s aircraft hangar was used to train the Mercury 7 astronauts to operate the rendezvous docking simulator, which included an inflatable planetarium for realism and a static Gemini cockpit. Today, the hangar is used to store some of NASA’s aircraft used for its airborne science missions. Notable missions include DISCOVER-AQ, a mission conducted to study the differences between high-altitude and low-altitude pollution, and a mission designed to use a DAWN Lidar instrument — developed at Langley — to measure wind profiles offshore wind turbine placement. Aircraft will be on display during tours, giving visitors insight to Langley’s aeronautical presence.
This wind tunnel is being used to test models of NASA’s Space Launch System, the world’s most powerful rocket, intended to send future astronauts to deep space destinations, such as Mars. The tunnel has many different “customizations” depending on the aircraft being tested. Its walls, ground boards, and fan provide numerous ways to test aerospace and aeronautical vehicles for NASA, its partners, and the U.S. military.