NASA 60th: The Leading Edge of Flight


(rapid electronic music) (swagger rock) – The design concept reduces
the drag at transonic speeds, allows the airplane to
fly faster and farther. – We’ve actually done aeronautics research for over 100 years; so,
NASA’s predecessor was the National Advisory
Committee for Aeronautics. The NACA field laboratories
became part of NASA, and we continue that tradition. – They developed a lot of the theories with the people they had back then; they developed wind tunnels. We ran the wind tunnels
actually three shifts a day because there was that much demand for the data from the companies, and that who we were doing it for. We had lady computers who
reduced the data for us. (auxiliary engine roaring) – [Control] Ready to launch, now. (main engines blast) – The X-15 was in many ways
the ultimate research tool. The very first aircraft to fly into space and come back and land
horizontally on a runway. – We had to make the engine run in order to make the plane fly. It had to be dropped from altitude; it had to be started at altitude; and it had to have stable combustion. And we made it work. – It was very much an experimental, one of a kind laboratory in the sky to investigate the next great
hurdle, which was hypersonics. And that’s a problem we’re
still working on today. – So we’ve always been trying
to go farther, faster, higher; that’s what mankind has
always wanted to do, to explore. That’s what NASA does; we explore. And now NASA is looking at a new X-plane so that we can make it a little bit easier to get across the country,
about twice as fast. – And the innovation there is actually the shape of the aircraft, so that we can enable supersonic flight over land, and that’ll open up a whole new industry. – Here we are, looking at how do we take all of those things that
we’ve learned historically, and place them in an aircraft that can actually fly faster
than the speed of sound without creating the sonic boom. (sonic boom) And if we can accomplish that objective, then people all across the United States and in fact all across the world will be able to fly faster
than the speed of sound and in fact they could fly
multiple times the speed of sound without disrupting
communities on the ground. We want to be at the very
leading edge of technology when it comes to supersonic flight. – When you look out that window
and you see that winglet, that was developed originally by NASA. There’s so many things that NASA has done that we’re with you when you fly. – The computers used on the Space Shuttle, the prototype of those computers were actually flown on the F-8
Digital Fly-By-Wire airplane. – 80% of the world’s
commercial airliner fleet today use that same technology in
order to fly their aircraft. And almost all the military
aircraft that are made today. – I remember the first time
I was flying an F-18 Hornet. I was in a bit of turbulence, and I thought I was holding
the airplane steady, and my flight controls were moving. Well those technologies
and those capabilities were developed by NASA. – Electric propulsion really
just opens up the playing field for what you can do with airplanes. Could be an air-taxi type vehicle or two or three, four people will travel across a downtown area and be
able to get to a destination much quicker than being
stuck on the freeway. And so it’s going to create
all new types of designs for vertical lift transitioning
to forward flight, and the predictions are that we’ll be three times more efficient. – Unmanned aircraft systems
follows in a long line of technologies that
NASA always is pursuing to improve the quality of
life for your everyday person. Like, they examine bridges or buildings that perhaps were
damaged in an earthquake, find out where the damage is. You could do that by never having to actually go into the
building or walk on the bridge, so that makes it safer for people. (pilot speaks on radio) – For 60 years we’ve been exploring. We stand on the shoulders of
giants that came before us. They figured it out and we’ve
taken it a little bit farther. It’s what we call pushing the envelope when you’re a test pilot.


20 Responses

  1. Larry Whittington

    August 29, 2018 5:53 pm

    The gift of knowledge has no measure 😁👍
    I thank my Creator.
    So neat ty
    Godspeed LarryWhittington

  2. Michael Lupo

    August 29, 2018 6:37 pm

    Well, we are still stuck with subsonic/transonic flight commercially due to fears of disruption as a result of sonic booms. Though I have a feeling that a sonic boom will always happen when any object breaks the sound barrier while in air.


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