Transcript for NASADestinationTomorrow - Episode 5

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COMING UP ON DESTINATION
TOMORROW,

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NASA LOOKS TO THE
FUTURE OF FLIGHT

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WITH A REVOLUTIONARY
AIRPLANE DESIGN CALLED THE

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BLENDED-WING BODY.

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WE'LL ALSO SEE HOW NASA
ENGINEERS INTENTIONALLY CRASH

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AIRCRAFT TO UNLOCK
THE SECRETS OF SAFETY,

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AND WE MEET A RETIRED
NASA ENGINEER

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WHO HELPED MAN ACHIEVE
SUPERSONIC FLIGHT

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AT OVER 4,500 MILES PER HOUR.

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ALL THIS AND MORE, NEXT
ON DESTINATION TOMORROW.

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HELLO, EVERYONE, I'M
STEELE McGONEGAL.

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I'M KERA O'BRYON.

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WELCOME TO DESTINATION TOMORROW.

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THIS PROGRAM WILL
UNCOVER HOW PAST, PRESENT,

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AND FUTURE RESEARCH IS
CREATING TODAY'S KNOWLEDGE

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TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS

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AND SOLVE THE CHALLENGES
OF TOMORROW.

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MOST OF US ARE FAMILIAR
WITH CRASH TEST EXPERIMENTS

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ON AUTOMOBILES WHICH HAVE LED
TO LIFESAVING NEW CAR DESIGNS,

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BUT NOT MANY PEOPLE KNOW

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THAT CRASH TESTING IS
DONE ON AIRPLANES AS WELL.

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RESEARCHERS AT THE IMPACT
DYNAMICS RESEARCH FACILITY,

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OR IDRF, AT NASA LANGLEY
RESEARCH CENTER HAVE BEEN

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CONDUCTING CRASH
TEST EXPERIMENTS

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ON AIRCRAFT FOR OVER 25 YEARS.

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THE KNOWLEDGE GAINED HERE HAS
LED TO DRASTIC IMPROVEMENTS

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IN AIRCRAFT DESIGNS, MAKING
FLYING SAFER FOR EVERYONE.

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FELICIA DAMES TAKES US

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TO THE IMPACT DYNAMICS RESEARCH
FACILITY TO FIND OUT MORE.

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ALTHOUGH MOST OF US DON'T
LIKE TO THINK ABOUT IT,

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THE THOUGHT OF CRASHING CREEPS

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INTO ALMOST EVERY PASSENGER'S
MIND WHEN BOARDING A PLANE.

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WE ALL KNOW THAT AIR
TRAVEL IS THE SAFEST FORM

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OF TRANSPORTATION KNOWN TO MAN.

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IN FACT, STATISTICALLY, YOU'D
HAVE TO FLY ONCE EVERY DAY

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FOR MORE THAN 8,200 YEARS
BEFORE YOU'D BE INVOLVED

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IN A FATAL AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT.

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BUT TRAGICALLY, WE KNOW
THAT CRASHES DO OCCUR.

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FORTUNATELY, NASA OPERATES
A UNIQUE FACILITY CALLED THE

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IMPACT DYNAMICS RESEARCH
FACILITY, OR IDRF, TO RESEARCH

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AND CONDUCT CRASH TESTING
OF FULL-SCALE AIRCRAFT.

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THE KNOWLEDGE LEARNED HERE
IS MAKING AIR TRAVEL SAFER

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IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT
OF AN ACCIDENT.

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I SPOKE TO LISA JONES OF THE
NASA LANGLEY RESEARCH CENTER

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TO FIND OUT ABOUT THIS
ONE-OF-A-KIND FACILITY.

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WELL, 80% OF MOST ACCIDENTS

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THAT OCCUR NOW ARE SURVIVABLE
ACCIDENTS, BUT WE'RE WORKING

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TO BRING THAT NUMBER EVEN
HIGHER SO THAT PEOPLE

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WHO ARE INVOLVED IN AN
ACCIDENT THAT IS CLASSIFIED

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AS SURVIVABLE WALK AWAY.

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BUT OUR MAIN GOALS HAVE TO DO
WITH AIRCRAFT CRASHWORTHINESS,

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TESTING THEM AND IMPROVING THEM
SO THEY'RE SAFER TO FLY IN.

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AND THE WAY WE TEST THESE
AIRCRAFT IS, WE SUSPEND IT

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FROM THE FACILITY AND ALLOW
IT TO SWING LIKE A PENDULUM

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INTO DIFFERENT SURFACES, AND
WE INSTRUMENT THE AIRCRAFT

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AND PUT CRASH DUMMIES ON,

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AND WE COLLECT THE DATA
DURING THE TEST AND LOOK AT IT

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AFTER THE TEST ALONG WITH A LOT
OF HIGH-SPEED FILM AND A LOT

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OF PHOTOGRAPHIC INFORMATION
AND DETERMINE

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IF REAL PEOPLE WOULD
BE INJURED OR NOT.

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AND THEN WE ALSO
USE THE INFORMATION

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TO CHANGE STRUCTURAL
THINGS IN THE AIRCRAFT

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TO IMPROVE HOW WELL IT ABSORBS
ENERGY AND TAKES IT AWAY

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FROM THE OCCUPANTS AND PREVENTS
THEM FROM BEING INJURED.

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SO THAT'S BASICALLY
CRASHWORTHINESS:

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PREVENTING THE OCCUPANTS FROM
BEING INJURED IN A CRASH.

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THE FACILITY WAS HERE ALREADY.

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IT WAS THE LUNAR
EXCURSION MODULE SIMULATOR,

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WHERE THEY TRAINED
ASTRONAUTS TO LAND ON THE MOON.

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THEN, IN THE '70s, THERE WERE
A LOT OF AIRCRAFT ACCIDENTS--

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SMALL GENERAL AVIATION
AIRCRAFT ACCIDENTS--

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AND WE FELT THAT IT WAS TIME
TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT,

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AND SO WE ACTUALLY
RECYCLED THE FACILITY

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SO THAT WE COULD LIFT THESE
AIRCRAFT AND CRASH TEST THEM.

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THE IDRF TEAM SET OUT
TO DISCOVER WHY CRASHES

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THAT SHOULD HAVE
BEEN SURVIVABLE WERE

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ACTUALLY INCURRING FATALITIES.

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IN THE COURSE OF THEIR
TESTING, THEY FOUND THAT MOST

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OF THE DEATHS CAUSED IN WHAT
SHOULD HAVE BEEN SURVIVABLE AIR

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CRASHES WERE NOT DUE TO FIRE
INJURIES, AS YOU MIGHT EXPECT,

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BUT WERE IN FACT DUE
TO LOAD INJURIES.

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A LOAD INJURY OCCURS WHEN
A BRIEF BUT EXTREME AMOUNT

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OF FORCE IS EXERTED ON THE BODY.

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DURING TESTING, RESEARCHERS
DISCOVERED

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THAT PASSENGERS WERE
EXPERIENCING THE FULL FORCE

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OF THE IMPACT OF THE
PLANE DURING A CRASH,

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PRODUCING ENORMOUS,

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UNSURVIVABLE LOAD
FORCES ON THEIR BODIES.

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THIS IS VERY SIMILAR TO
CRASH DATA DISCOVERED

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BY AUTOMOBILE MAKERS.

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CAR ACCIDENTS OF THE PAST
WERE MUCH LESS SURVIVABLE

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THAN CRASHES IN RECENT YEARS.

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THIS IS BECAUSE NEWER
AUTOMOBILES HAVE BEEN DESIGNED

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TO ABSORB AND DAMPEN THE
MAJORITY OF ENERGY IN A CRASH,

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KEEPING PASSENGERS SAFER.

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THE RESEARCHERS AT
IDRF BEGAN DESIGNING

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AND IMPLEMENTING NEW
DAMPENING SYSTEMS

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TO BE PLACED ON BOARD AIRPLANES.

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NEW SYSTEMS LIKE
ENERGY-ABSORBING SEATS DISSIPATE

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AND ABSORB ENERGY
DURING A CRASH,

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GREATLY REDUCING THE LOAD
WEIGHTS BEING EXPERIENCED

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BY PASSENGERS.

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THIS SINGLE CHANGE
HAS SAVED MANY LIVES.

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WE FOUND THAT CHANGING THE SEATS
HAS MADE A LOT OF DIFFERENCE

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AND SAVED A LOT OF LIVES.

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HOWEVER, THERE'S MORE WE CAN DO.

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WHEN YOU LOOK AT
THE WHOLE SYSTEM,

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LIKE CHANGING THE STRUCTURE
SO THAT NOT ONLY DO WE--

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HAS THE SEATS STAY
ATTACHED, BUT ENERGY IS TAKEN

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OUT OF THE SYSTEM THROUGH
THE STRUCTURE ITSELF,

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AND THEY'RE WEARING SPECIAL
RESTRAINTS THAT KEEP THEM

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IN THEIR SEAT AND ALSO MAY
EVEN PUT AIR BAG TECHNOLOGY

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IN SOME OF THE AIRCRAFT.

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AND FOR LARGE AIRPLANES,
WE'RE EVEN LOOKING

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AT CHANGING THE DESIGN SO THAT
IT WILL DELIBERATELY BREAK

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IN CERTAIN PLACES.

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THEN WE CAN DETERMINE
WHERE NOT TO PUT HOT THINGS

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OR SHARP THINGS OR FUEL
LINES AND THINGS LIKE THAT,

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SO PEOPLE CAN GET OUT, OR
EGRESS, THROUGH THESE OPENINGS

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IN THE LARGE AIRCRAFT.

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A LOT OF THE THINGS YOU
DESCRIBED ARE THINGS NASA

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AND THE INDUSTRY ARE DOING
TO MAKE FLYING SAFER.

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IS THERE ANYTHING THE
GENERAL PUBLIC CAN DO

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TO MAKE FLYING SAFER?

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YES, CHECK YOUR LUGGAGE--
ALL OF IT, IF POSSIBLE--

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BECAUSE THINGS IN THE LUGGAGE
BINS DO BECOME FLYING OBJECTS

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IN A CRASH EVENT.

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COMPUTERS, FOR INSTANCE,
ARE VERY HEAVY OBJECTS,

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AND IF THEY COME FLYING THROUGH
THE AIRCRAFT AT LANDING SPEEDS

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OF 200 KNOTS, THEN
YOU HAVE AN ISSUE,

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BECAUSE IT WILL DEFINITELY
INJURE PEOPLE.

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PEOPLE ARE NOT REPLACEABLE;
THINGS ARE.

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SO IF YOU CAN CHECK
YOUR LUGGAGE,

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THEN YOU'RE DOING
A GREAT SERVICE

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TO PREVENT INJURIES
IN AN ACCIDENT.

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WE WANT PEOPLE TO WALK AWAY
FROM THESE SURVIVABLE EVENTS

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AND NOT HAVE ANY INJURIES.

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WE'RE WORKING HARD TO GET THERE.

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THE IMPACT DYNAMICS RESEARCH
FACILITY WAS NAMED A NATIONAL

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HISTORIC LANDMARK IN 1985 TO
COMMEMORATE THE WORK DONE THERE

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IN LUNAR LANDING RESEARCH.

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COMING UP, WE'LL FIND OUT
HOW AN INSTRUMENT USED

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TO TEST SPACE SHUTTLE TIRES
IS NOW BEING USED BY DOCTORS

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TO HELP PATIENTS WHO
SUFFER FROM HEAD TRAUMA.

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BUT FIRST, DID YOU KNOW
THE FIRST PERSON KILLED

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IN AN AIRPLANE ACCIDENT WAS
LIEUTENANT THOMAS E. SELFRIDGE?

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ON SEPTEMBER 17, 1908, AIRPLANE
INVENTOR ORVILLE WRIGHT TOOK

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LIEUTENANT SELFRIDGE UP
ON A DEMONSTRATION FLIGHT

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FOR THE U.S. ARMY.

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DURING THE FLIGHT, ONE OF
THE PROPELLERS SEPARATED,

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CAUSING WRIGHT TO LOSE CONTROL.

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THE PLANE FELL 75
FEET TO THE GROUND,

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KILLING LIEUTENANT SELFRIDGE,

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WHILE ORVILLE WRIGHT SUFFERED
A BROKEN LEG AND PELVIS.

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UNFORTUNATELY, HEAD TRAUMA IS A
FAIRLY COMMON INJURY ENCOUNTERED

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IN CRITICAL CARE.

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ASSOCIATED HEALTH CARE COSTS
RUN OVER $7 1/2 BILLION

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IN THE UNITED STATES ALONE.

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BRAIN INJURY IS A MAJOR
CAUSE OF LONG-TERM DISABILITY

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IN THE PEDIATRIC AND
ADULT POPULATION.

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WHEN HEAD TRAUMA OCCURS, THE
CRANIUM, OR SKULL, EXPANDS,

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DUE TO AN INCREASE IN PRESSURE.

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THE CURRENT METHOD OF MONITORING
THIS PRESSURE REQUIRES MOUNTING

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A DEVICE IN A HOLE DRILLED
IN THE PATIENT'S SKULL.

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RESEARCHERS AT NASA HAVE
INVENTED A NONINVASIVE METHOD

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FOR THE MEASUREMENT OF
INTRACRANIAL PRESSURE

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THAT USES ULTRASONICS.

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DEREK LEONIDOFF HAS MORE ON
THIS FASCINATING NEW INVENTION.

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EVERY YEAR, NEARLY
400,000 PEOPLE ARE TREATED

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FOR HEAD INJURIES IN
THE UNITED STATES ALONE.

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IN 50% TO 75% OF THOSE CASES,

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THE PRESSURE INSIDE
THE SKULL RISES

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TO A DEGREE THAT COULD BE FATAL.

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THAT IS WHY KEEPING
ACCURATE MEASUREMENTS

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OF CRANIAL PRESSURE IS CRUCIAL.

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UNFORTUNATELY, THE CURRENT
METHODS OF MEASURING PRESSURE

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IN THE HEAD INVOLVE INSERTING
MEASUREMENT TOOLS LIKE CATHETERS

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OR NEEDLES DIRECTLY INTO
THE BRAIN OF THE PATIENT.

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FORTUNATELY, NASA AND ITS
PARTNERS AT THE UNIVERSITY

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OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO,

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MEDICAL SCHOOL HAVE
DEVELOPED A NEW DEVICE

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TO MONITOR INTRACRANIAL
PRESSURE THAT DOESN'T NEED

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TO BE INSERTED INTO
THE BRAIN AT ALL.

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THIS NEW DEVICE IS USEFUL
NOT ONLY, FOR EXAMPLE,

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TO HELP HEAD TRAUMA CASES,
BUT IS ALSO BEING USED BY NASA

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TO HELP ASTRONAUTS
COMBAT SPACE SICKNESS.

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I SPOKE WITH DR. TOM YOST

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AT NASA'S LANGLEY RESEARCH
CENTER TO FIND OUT MORE.

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WE'RE ACTUALLY USING ULTRASOUND
TO REPLACE THE OLDER TECHNOLOGY,

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WHICH REQUIRED DRILLING A
HOLE IN THE HEAD IN ORDER

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TO MEASURE INTRACRANIAL
PRESSURE.

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WE THINK THAT THIS IS A MUCH
SUPERIOR WAY TO AVOID A LOT

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OF THE PROBLEMS THAT ARE
ASSOCIATED WITH THE MEASUREMENT

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OF INTRACRANIAL PRESSURE AS
IT'S NOW PRACTICED IN MEDICINE.

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WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO IS
TO USE ULTRASOUND AS A MEANS

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OF MEASURING INTRACRANIAL
PRESSURE,

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AND THE WAY WE DO IT IS,
WE PLACE A TRANSDUCER,

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AN ULTRASONIC TRANSDUCER,
ON THE SIDE OF THE SKULL,

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AND WE SEND A WAVE
THROUGH THE SKULL,

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AND THAT GIVES US THE
CLUES THAT WE NEED

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TO DETERMINE WHAT THE
INTRACRANIAL PRESSURE CHANGES

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ARE INSIDE THE SKULL.

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WE REALLY THINK THAT
THIS TECHNOLOGY

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THAT WE'VE DEVELOPED HERE IS
REVOLUTIONARY, IN A SENSE,

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BECAUSE WE THINK IT WILL
MEAN THAT, ONCE ADOPTED,

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THAT NOBODY WILL EVER HAVE
TO HAVE A HOLE DRILLED

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IN THEIR HEAD AGAIN TO
MEASURE INTRACRANIAL PRESSURE.

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WHEN ONE DRILLS A HOLE IN THE
HEAD, YOU COMPROMISE THE BRAIN

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IN A WAY THAT ALLOWS
INFECTION TO GO INTO IT.

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AND REGARDLESS OF HOW
CAREFUL THE HOSPITAL

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OR THE PHYSICIANS ARE,
INFECTIONS CAN INDEED CREEP IN

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AND CAUSE A BRAIN
INFECTION, WHICH IS VERY,

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VERY DIFFICULT TO TRY TO SOLVE.

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WHEN OUR BODY IS INJURED,
SWELLING IS A NATURAL

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AND EFFECTIVE WAY TO
PROTECT THE INJURED AREA,

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ALTHOUGH WHEN THE BRAIN
IS INJURED, IT HAS NO ROOM

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TO SWELL INSIDE THE SKULL.

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THE PRESSURE FROM THE SWELLING
CAN CAUSE MAJOR BODY FUNCTIONS

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TO SHUT DOWN.

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THIS CONDITION CAN CAUSE
THE PATIENT TO LAPSE

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INTO A COMA OR COULD
PROVE FATAL.

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TO MEASURE THE SWELLING, DOCTORS
USUALLY DRILL OR BURR A HOLE

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IN THE PATIENT'S HEAD AND
INSERT A NEEDLE OR CATHETER

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INTO THE VENTRICLE
REGION OF THE BRAIN.

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THIS IS HIGHLY INVASIVE
AND CAN INCREASE THE RISK

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OF DEATH DUE TO INFECTIONS.

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SO HOW DID NASA RESEARCHERS
GET INVOLVED

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WITH SOMETHING LIKE THIS?

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WELL, WE ORIGINALLY STARTED
TO TRY TO USE ULTRASOUND

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IN A BOLT-TENSION MONITOR
FOR USE ON THE SHUTTLE.

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IT'S VERY CRITICAL THAT WE
ADJUST THE SHUTTLE BOLTS VERY,

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VERY PRECISELY FOR
SAFETY REASONS.

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WHAT WE ALSO THEN
WANTED TO DO WAS

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TO USE THE SAME ULTRASOUND
IDEAS THAT WE HAD DEVELOPED

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FOR THAT IN MEASURING
INTRACRANIAL PRESSURE.

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NOW IT LOOKS LIKE THAT IN THIS
DECADE, WE ARE GOING TO USE IT

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WITH THE SHUTTLE
ASTRONAUTS IN ORDER

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TO CHECK SPACE ADAPTATION
SICKNESS AND SOME

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OF THE ISSUES ASSOCIATED
WITH IT.

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CURRENTLY, UP TO 40%

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OF ALL ASTRONAUTS DEVELOP
A CONDITION CALLED SPACE

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ADAPTATION SYNDROME IN THEIR
FIRST FEW DAYS IN SPACE.

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THE SYMPTOMS OF THIS SYNDROME
CAN INCLUDE NAUSEA, VOMITING,

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AND INCREASED SWELLING
IN THE UPPER TORSOS

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AND HEAD OF THE ASTRONAUT.

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WHEN AN ASTRONAUT FLIES INTO
THE WEIGHTLESSNESS OF SPACE,

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HIS BODY CONTINUES TO FUNCTION
AS IF HE IS STILL ON EARTH,

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PUSHING FLUIDS UP, CAUSING AN
UNBALANCED FLUID DISTRIBUTION

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IN HIS UPPER BODY.

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THE CONDITION CAN BECOME VERY
SERIOUS DURING A SPACE FLIGHT,

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WHEN VOMITING MAY
IMPAIR THE MISSION.

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THIS IS WHERE THE INTRACRANIAL
PRESSURE MONITOR COMES IN.

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THE OBJECTIVE OF THIS MONITOR
IS TO ASSIST IN THE PREDICTION

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AND TREATMENT OF SPACE
ADAPTATION SYNDROME.

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RESEARCHERS WILL PLACE A
SMALL MONITOR ON THE HEAD

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OF EACH ASTRONAUT
WHICH WILL MEASURE

[00:11:50.728]
FOR INCREASED INTRACRANIAL
PRESSURE.

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SINCE EACH ASTRONAUT'S BODY
REACTS DIFFERENTLY TO SPACE,

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THE INSTRUMENT WILL HELP
DETECT THOSE ASTRONAUTS

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WHO ARE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE
TO THE SYNDROME.

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ONCE RESEARCHERS UNDERSTAND
HOW THE SYNDROME AFFECTS THE

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INDIVIDUAL, THEY CAN FIND
DIFFERENT WAYS TO TREAT

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AND PREVENT IT FROM OCCURRING,

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EFFECTIVELY ELIMINATING THE
PROBLEM FROM SPACEFLIGHT.

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DEREK, WHILE IT IS BEING USED
NOW FOR JUST A FEW PEOPLE

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ON SHUTTLE, NAMELY
THE ASTRONAUTS,

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WE HOPE TO MAKE THIS AVAILABLE
FOR GENERAL MEDICAL USE

[00:12:20.378]
SO THAT NO ONE WILL EVER
HAVE TO HAVE A HOLE DRILLED

[00:12:23.088]
INTO THEIR HEAD TO MEASURE
INTRACRANIAL PRESSURE AGAIN.

[00:12:26.038]
IN THE 1940s AND '50s,
THE UNOFFICIAL MOTTO

[00:12:33.838]
FOR FLIGHT RESEARCHERS
WAS "HIGHER AND FASTER."

[00:12:37.128]
AND BY THE LATE 1950s,
THE LAST FRONTIER

[00:12:39.588]
OF THAT GOAL WAS HYPERSONIC
FLIGHT TO THE EDGE OF SPACE.

[00:12:43.268]
REACHING THIS CHALLENGING
GOAL WOULD REQUIRE A HUGE LEAP

[00:12:46.228]
IN AERONAUTICAL TECHNOLOGY,

[00:12:47.888]
LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEMS,
AND FLIGHT PLANNING.

[00:12:50.908]
REACTING TO THIS GOAL,
JOHN V. BECKER AND HIS TEAM

[00:12:54.158]
AT NASA LANGLEY SET OUT
TO MEET THIS CHALLENGE.

[00:12:56.738]
THE RESULTING WORK
LED TO THE DEVELOPMENT

[00:12:59.078]
OF THE REVOLUTIONARY
X-15 AIRCRAFT.

[00:13:02.288]
THIS AMAZING AIRCRAFT NOT
ONLY WENT ON TO BREAK SPEED

[00:13:05.258]
AND ALTITUDE RECORDS BUT
HELPED USHER IN THE SPACE AGE.

[00:13:08.848]
BY THE MID '50s,
RESEARCH PLANES COULD FLY

[00:13:11.368]
AT THREE TIMES THE SPEED OF
SOUND, BUT RESEARCHERS KNEW

[00:13:14.308]
THAT THE TECHNOLOGY EXISTED
TO BUILD AN AIRCRAFT TO FLY

[00:13:17.008]
AT LEAST FIVE TIMES THE SPEED

[00:13:18.568]
OF SOUND WHILE REACHING
ALTITUDES

[00:13:20.308]
THAT BORDERED THE EDGE OF SPACE.

[00:13:22.458]
THIS IS WHERE THE IDEA
FOR THE X-15 WAS BORN.

[00:13:25.638]
ALTHOUGH SPEED WAS IMPORTANT,
IT WAS NOT THE ONLY REQUIREMENT.

[00:13:29.358]
THE PROPULSION FOR
PROPELLING A MANNED AIRPLANE

[00:13:33.988]
AT HYPERSONIC SPEEDS WAS
RAPIDLY BECOMING AVAILABLE

[00:13:37.968]
IN THE MISSILE PROGRAM.

[00:13:41.398]
HOWEVER, STRUCTURAL TECHNOLOGY

[00:13:44.368]
FOR HIGH TEMPERATURES WAS
PRACTICALLY NONEXISTENT.

[00:13:49.208]
THE AERODYNAMICS WAS IN ITS
INFANCY, AND IT WAS FAIRLY CLEAR

[00:13:54.668]
THAT PUTTING WHAT WE KNEW
TOGETHER IN AN AIRPLANE

[00:13:59.668]
THAT WOULD GO AS FAR

[00:14:00.668]
AS POSSIBLE TOWARD
HYPERSONIC FLIGHT SHOULD BE THE

[00:14:04.688]
REAL OBJECTIVE.

[00:14:06.368]
RESEARCHERS WANTED
TO DESIGN A PLANE

[00:14:07.968]
THAT COULD ACCOMPLISH
MANY DIFFERENT GOALS.

[00:14:10.428]
THEY WANTED TO DESIGN
A PURE RESEARCH PLANE.

[00:14:13.488]
IN EARLY WIND TUNNEL TESTS,
RESEARCHERS QUICKLY SAW

[00:14:16.428]
THAT HEATING WOULD BE A
PROBLEM FOR CONVENTIONAL METALS.

[00:14:19.558]
TO COMBAT THIS PROBLEM,

[00:14:20.918]
RESEARCHERS DESIGNED THE
X-15'S STRUCTURES PRIMARILY

[00:14:23.678]
OUT OF TITANIUM AND
STAINLESS STEEL,

[00:14:25.768]
WHILE THE AIRFRAME WAS COVERED
WITH INCONEL "X" NICKEL.

[00:14:28.818]
INCONEL "X" WAS A NEW ALLOY THAT
COULD WITHSTAND TEMPERATURES

[00:14:31.848]
UP TO 1,200 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT.

[00:14:34.518]
WHEN FLOWN AT TEMPERATURES
HIGHER THAN 1,200 DEGREES,

[00:14:37.438]
THE PLANE WAS COVERED WITH
A PINK ABLATIVE MATERIAL

[00:14:40.348]
WHICH WOULD BOIL AWAY,
CARRYING THE HEAT WITH IT.

[00:14:43.318]
BY USING THIS TECHNIQUE
OF SHORT IMMERSION

[00:14:48.808]
IN THE HYPERSONIC ENVIRONMENT,
WE WERE ABLE TO GET IN THERE

[00:14:54.268]
AND MAKE OUR MEASUREMENTS

[00:14:56.208]
AND THEN DECELERATE BEFORE THE
STRUCTURE GOT INTO TROUBLE.

[00:14:59.968]
THE X-15 WAS POWERED WITH A
ROCKET ENGINE THAT WAS CAPABLE

[00:15:03.088]
OF DEVELOPING 57,000
POUNDS OF THRUST.

[00:15:06.438]
THIS AMOUNT OF POWER COULD
EASILY BREAK ANY SPEED

[00:15:08.928]
OR ALTITUDE RECORD TO DATE.

[00:15:10.708]
KNOWING THAT THE
AIRCRAFT WOULD BE USED

[00:15:12.298]
IN DIFFERENT ATMOSPHERIC
CONDITIONS, IT WAS DESIGNED

[00:15:15.038]
WITH FEATURES LIKE A
MOVABLE REAR TAIL FOR CONTROL

[00:15:17.818]
AT LOWER ALTITUDES AND
WITH HYDROGEN PEROXIDE JETS

[00:15:20.928]
THAT CONTROLLED THE
CRAFT AT SPACE ALTITUDES.

[00:15:23.788]
THE OVERALL ACCOMPLISHMENT
WAS THE GREAT INCREASE

[00:15:28.778]
IN CONFIDENCE LEVEL
THAT IT GAVE US.

[00:15:32.128]
WE HAD A SYSTEM THAT REALLY
WORKED, AND THAT INCREASE

[00:15:37.658]
IN CONFIDENCE LEVEL
WAS VERY VALUABLE.

[00:15:40.208]
ON SEPTEMBER 17, 1959,
THE FIRST POWERED FLIGHT

[00:15:43.998]
OF THE X-15 WAS AIR LAUNCHED

[00:15:45.708]
FROM A B-52 BOMBER
AT 45,000 FEET.

[00:15:49.388]
DURING THE LIFE OF THE PROGRAM,
THE X-15 BRIDGED THE GAP

[00:15:52.448]
BETWEEN AIR AND SPACE AND
PERFORMED CRITICAL RESEARCH

[00:15:55.118]
IN AERODYNAMICS,
LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEMS,

[00:15:57.588]
AND STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS
ENCOUNTERED DURING REENTRY

[00:15:59.898]
FROM SPACE.

[00:16:01.148]
HALF PLANE, HALF ROCKET,
THE X-15 TOOK TEST PILOTS

[00:16:04.668]
TO THE EDGE OF SPACE FOR
THE FIRST TIME, EARNING MANY

[00:16:07.688]
OF THE PILOTS ASTRONAUT WINGS.

[00:16:09.728]
WE FOUND THAT WITH
THE ENERGY AVAILABLE

[00:16:13.428]
IN THE PROPULSION SYSTEM,
WE COULD EASILY FLY

[00:16:16.798]
OUT OF THE ATMOSPHERE INTO
SPACE AND TAKE ON A NEW SET

[00:16:22.398]
OF PROBLEMS THAT WOULD
BE VERY SIMILAR TO WHAT

[00:16:26.748]
IN THE FUTURE WOULD BE
ENCOUNTERED BY ORBITAL VEHICLES.

[00:16:32.028]
THE X-15 BECAME THE
FIRST WINGED AIRCRAFT

[00:16:34.668]
TO ATTAIN HYPERSONIC
VELOCITIES OF MACH 4, 5,

[00:16:38.448]
AND 6 AND TO OPERATE

[00:16:40.368]
AT ALTITUDES WELL
ABOVE 350,000 FEET.

[00:16:44.018]
THE X-15 WAS CERTAINLY THE
HIGH POINT OF MY CAREER.

[00:16:50.238]
I WAS ALWAYS PLEASED THAT
WHEN THE OPPORTUNITY PRESENTED

[00:16:56.148]
ITSELF, THAT I HAD SENSE ENOUGH
TO PICK IT UP AND RUN WITH IT.

[00:17:02.038]
THE X-15 PROGRAM PROVIDED
AN ENORMOUS WEALTH OF DATA

[00:17:04.898]
ON HYPERSONIC AIRFLOW,
HEATING, CONTROL AND STABILITY,

[00:17:09.018]
REENTRY FROM SPACE,
HUMAN FACTORS,

[00:17:11.428]
AND FLIGHT INSTRUMENTATION.

[00:17:13.268]
THE SUCCESS OF THE X-15
PROGRAM BUILT CONFIDENCE AT NASA

[00:17:16.768]
AND CONTRIBUTED TO THE
DEVELOPMENT OF THE MERCURY,

[00:17:19.168]
GEMINI, AND APOLLO PILOTED
SPACEFLIGHT PROGRAMS AS WELL

[00:17:22.948]
AS THE SPACE SHUTTLE PROGRAM.

[00:17:24.778]
THE X-15'S FINAL FLIGHT WAS
PERFORMED ON OCTOBER 24, 1968,

[00:17:29.738]
BUT MUCH OF THE RESEARCH
LEARNED THEN IS STILL BEING

[00:17:32.638]
USED TODAY.

[00:17:34.758]
THE THREE X-15 AIRCRAFT WERE
FLOWN BY 12 TEST PILOTS,

[00:17:37.758]
INCLUDING ASTRONAUT
NEIL ARMSTRONG.

[00:17:39.828]
THERE WERE 199 FLIGHTS,
BEGINNING JUNE 8, 1959,

[00:17:42.988]
AND ENDING OCTOBER 24, 1968.

[00:17:45.838]
THE X-15, ALONG WITH
OTHER RESEARCH AIRCRAFT,

[00:17:48.008]
CONTRIBUTED TO THE ADVANCEMENT
OF AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGY

[00:17:50.468]
AND TO THE SUCCESS OF THE
MANNED SPACEFLIGHT PROGRAMS.

[00:17:53.278]
COMING UP, DESTINATION TOMORROW
LOOKS AT THE FUTURE OF FLIGHT

[00:17:56.158]
WITH A REVOLUTIONARY AIRPLANE
DESIGN BEING DEVELOPED BY NASA.

[00:17:59.188]
BUT FIRST, DID YOU KNOW

[00:18:00.378]
THAT CHARLES LINDBERGH
WAS NOT THE FIRST PERSON

[00:18:02.268]
TO CROSS THE ATLANTIC BY AIR?

[00:18:04.118]
91 PEOPLE IN 13 SEPARATE FLIGHTS
CROSSED THE ATLANTIC BEFORE

[00:18:07.248]
HE DID.

[00:18:07.548]
THE FIRST NONSTOP FLIGHT
WAS BY PILOTS JOHN ALCOCK

[00:18:10.608]
AND ARTHUR WHITTEN-BROWN
IN JUNE OF 1919.

[00:18:13.298]
LINDBERGH SET THE RECORD FOR THE
FIRST SOLO NONSTOP TRANSATLANTIC

[00:18:16.808]
FLIGHT BETWEEN CITIES,
WHICH HE SET IN 1927.

[00:18:20.418]
IN THE NEAR FUTURE, NASA
IS PLANNING TO FLY ONE

[00:18:24.758]
OF THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY
AIRCRAFT CONCEPTS

[00:18:27.198]
OF RECENT DECADES, TO
EXPLORE ITS POTENTIAL

[00:18:29.988]
AS A FUTURE PASSENGER
AND AIRFREIGHT AIRCRAFT.

[00:18:32.928]
THE DESIGN IS CALLED
THE BLENDED WING BODY,

[00:18:35.238]
OR B.W.B. THE B.W.B.
IS A HYBRID SHAPE

[00:18:38.888]
THAT RESEMBLES A FLYING WING

[00:18:40.708]
BUT ALSO INCORPORATES
SOME FEATURES

[00:18:42.708]
OF A CONVENTIONAL AIRLINER.

[00:18:44.638]
THE BLENDED WING BODY
POTENTIALLY OFFERS SIGNIFICANT

[00:18:47.338]
ADVANTAGES OVER CONVENTIONAL
TUBE-AND-WING

[00:18:49.488]
DESIGNED AIRFRAMES.

[00:18:51.178]
TONYA ST. ROMAIN HAS MORE.

[00:18:55.818]
[00:18:59.158]
THROUGH THE HISTORY
OF POWERED FLIGHT,

[00:19:01.138]
PLANES HAVE BEEN
DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED

[00:19:02.708]
WITH BASICALLY ONE SHAPE,
THE TUBE-AND-WING DESIGN.

[00:19:06.168]
THIS DESIGN HAS PROVEN
TO BE VERY EFFECTIVE.

[00:19:08.598]
IN FACT, OUR ENTIRE
INFRASTRUCTURE,

[00:19:10.788]
INCLUDING OUR TERMINALS
AND HANGARS,

[00:19:12.588]
HAVE BEEN BUILT AROUND IT.

[00:19:14.168]
BUT WITH AIR TRAVEL
EXPECTED TO TRIPLE BY 2015,

[00:19:17.708]
IT IS WIDELY BELIEVED THAT THE
TUBE-AND-WING DESIGN WILL REACH

[00:19:20.278]
THE PEAK OF ITS USEFULNESS.

[00:19:21.838]
FOR THIS REASON, DESIGNING NEW
AIRCRAFT HAS BECOME A PRIORITY.

[00:19:25.538]
FORTUNATELY, NASA AND ITS
PARTNERS ARE DEVELOPING A NEW

[00:19:28.848]
TYPE OF VEHICLE CALLED THE
BLENDED WING BODY, OR B.W.B.,

[00:19:32.958]
TO MEET THESE NEW REQUIREMENTS.

[00:19:34.628]
DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT FROM
THE CONVENTIONAL TUBE-AND-WING

[00:19:37.488]
DESIGN, THE B.W.B. IS DESIGNED
AS A GIANT FLYING WING.

[00:19:41.338]
IT'S BUILT WITH STATE-OF-THE-ART
COMPOSITE MATERIAL

[00:19:43.988]
THAT MAKE IT MORE
EFFICIENT AND STRONGER

[00:19:45.968]
THAN CONVENTIONAL DESIGNS.

[00:19:47.868]
I SPOKE WITH WENDY PENNINGTON
AT NASA LANGLEY RESEARCH CENTER

[00:19:50.728]
TO FIND OUT HOW THE B.W.B.
WILL CHANGE THE WAY WE ALL FLY.

[00:19:55.008]
THE B.W.B. IS A
REVOLUTIONARY-CONCEPT AIRCRAFT

[00:19:58.358]
THAT WAS ENVISIONED
EARLY IN THE '90s

[00:20:00.828]
BY THE NASA CHIEF SCIENTISTS.

[00:20:02.078]
THEY PUT OUT A CHALLENGE TO
INDUSTRY TO COME UP WITH NEW,

[00:20:05.878]
INNOVATIVE WAYS TO
DESIGN AIRCRAFT.

[00:20:08.718]
THEY BASICALLY CAME UP
WITH A DESIGN FOR A SORT

[00:20:12.108]
OF A FLYING WING, WHICH
IS THE BLENDED WING BODY.

[00:20:16.328]
THE B.W.B. MAY CONSUME
20% LESS FUEL,

[00:20:19.948]
WHILE STILL FLYING HIGH
SUBSONIC CRUISE SPEEDS AS WELL

[00:20:24.048]
AS A 7,000-NAUTICAL-MILE RANGE.

[00:20:26.868]
THE B.W.B. IS A HYBRID SHAPE BUT
ALSO INCORPORATES SOME FEATURES

[00:20:30.418]
OF A CONVENTIONAL AIRLINER.

[00:20:31.798]
THE FUTURISTIC AIRFRAME IS A
UNIQUE MERGER OF EFFICIENT,

[00:20:35.238]
HIGH-LIFT WINGS AND A
WIDE AIRFOIL-SHAPED BODY,

[00:20:38.758]
CAUSING THE ENTIRE AIRCRAFT TO
GENERATE LIFT AND MINIMIZE DRAG,

[00:20:42.508]
THEREBY INCREASING FUEL ECONOMY.

[00:20:44.588]
WENDY, YOU TALKED ABOUT
HOW THE B.W.B. HAS A VERY

[00:20:47.378]
EFFICIENT DESIGN.

[00:20:48.028]
HOW IS THAT DIFFERENT
FROM CURRENT JETS?

[00:20:50.568]
WELL, TONYA, WE HAVE SEVERAL
THINGS THAT MAKE IT DIFFERENT.

[00:20:54.088]
FOR INSTANCE, THERE IS NO TAIL.

[00:20:55.898]
INSTEAD, THE B.W.B. HAS
SEVERAL CONTROL SURFACES

[00:20:58.748]
ON THE TRAILING EDGE
OF THE AIRCRAFT.

[00:21:00.778]
THE THREE JET ENGINES
ARE INFLUENCED

[00:21:03.268]
BY THE AERODYNAMIC FLOW OVER
THE WING OF THE B.W.B. FUSELAGE.

[00:21:08.778]
THIS HELPS THE ENGINES
BECOME MORE FUEL-EFFICIENT.

[00:21:12.318]
IT ALSO HAS A UNIQUE INTERIOR
LAYOUT FOR PASSENGERS.

[00:21:17.908]
IT HAS A SQUASHED FUSELAGE
SECTION, AND BECAUSE IT BLENDS

[00:21:22.758]
INTO THE WING, PEOPLE
CAN ACTUALLY SIT WELL

[00:21:25.528]
INTO THE WING OF THE AIRCRAFT.

[00:21:27.428]
WE CALL THAT THE CENTER BODY,

[00:21:29.338]
SO IT DOES PROVIDE
FOR MORE PASSENGERS.

[00:21:31.998]
WE'VE DONE SOME STUDIES ON
INTERIOR DESIGN OF THE AIRCRAFT,

[00:21:36.348]
AND HOW COULD PEOPLE
FLY IN THE MIDDLE

[00:21:39.478]
WITHOUT HAVING A
SIGHT OUT A WINDOW?

[00:21:42.168]
WE CAN PUT CAMERAS OUT
THE WINDOW OR, SAY,

[00:21:45.928]
AT THE NOSE OF THE AIRCRAFT,

[00:21:47.858]
AND THE PASSENGERS CAN HAVE
VIDEO RIGHT AT THEIR SEATS,

[00:21:52.048]
SO THEY'LL HAVE AN
OUT-THE-WINDOW PICTURE

[00:21:53.638]
THAT THEY COULD SWITCH TO.

[00:21:55.028]
SO WE'VE TALKED ABOUT HOW
THE B.W.B. IS REVOLUTIONARY,

[00:21:58.438]
BUT IT LOOKS LIKE
SOMETHING WE'VE SEEN BEFORE.

[00:22:00.498]
IS THIS BASED ON ANY
IDEAS FROM THE PAST?

[00:22:04.128]
SURE. THE B.W.B. DESIGNERS
ARE ACTUALLY TAKING IDEAS

[00:22:07.538]
AND KNOWLEDGE FROM EARLY DESIGNS

[00:22:10.448]
SUCH AS THE YB-49 FLYING
WING AND THE B-2 BOMBER.

[00:22:13.918]
SO WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP

[00:22:19.098]
IN ACTUALLY GETTING
THIS PLANE BUILT?

[00:22:21.388]
WELL, THE NEXT STEP IS TO BUILD
A SCALE MODEL OR A REPLICA

[00:22:26.448]
OF THIS REVOLUTIONARY AIRCRAFT.

[00:22:28.968]
SEVERAL SMALL WIND TUNNEL MODELS

[00:22:30.768]
OF THE B.W.B. ARE ALREADY BEING
USED TO GATHER INFORMATION

[00:22:34.228]
ABOUT FLIGHT CHARACTERISTICS.

[00:22:35.918]
BUT CRITICAL FLIGHT
INFORMATION NEEDS TO BE GATHERED

[00:22:38.748]
FROM IN-FLIGHT MEASUREMENTS
AS WELL.

[00:22:40.348]
FOR THIS REASON, A SCALE-MODEL
PLANE IS CLOSE TO BEING TESTED.

[00:22:44.588]
THIS SCALE MODEL WILL
BE BUILT TO PERFORM

[00:22:46.698]
AND LOOK EXACTLY LIKE
THE FULL-SCALE PLANE.

[00:22:49.068]
THE DATA GATHERED IN THE AIR
WILL SUPPLY CRITICAL INFORMATION

[00:22:52.628]
ABOUT FLIGHT CHARACTERISTICS
FOR ENGINEERS.

[00:22:55.098]
ONCE THE TESTING PHASE IS
COMPLETE, THIS DATA WILL BE USED

[00:22:58.288]
TO DESIGN THE FULL-SCALE
BLENDED WING BODY PROTOTYPE.

[00:23:02.118]
ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT
INNOVATIONS

[00:23:03.528]
IN AIRCRAFT DEVELOPMENT

[00:23:04.648]
IN THE 20th CENTURY WAS
THE GAS TURBINE JET ENGINE.

[00:23:07.148]
IT REVOLUTIONIZED THE WAY WE
ALL TRAVEL, ENABLING AIRCRAFT

[00:23:09.838]
TO FLY FARTHER AND FASTER,

[00:23:11.228]
WHILE IMPROVING SAFETY
AND EFFICIENCY.

[00:23:13.338]
BUT DO YOU KNOW THE
BASIC PRINCIPLES

[00:23:14.928]
OF HOW A JET ENGINE WORKS?

[00:23:16.358]
TO FIND OUT MORE, WE
TURN TO JOHNNY ALONSO.

[00:23:19.868]
[00:23:23.648]
IT'S ABSOLUTELY AMAZING
HOW A PLANE

[00:23:27.878]
THAT BIG LIFTS OFF THE GROUND.

[00:23:29.768]
ALL RIGHT, YOU'RE
SITTING IN YOUR SEAT.

[00:23:31.858]
YOU HEAR THE ENGINES REV UP,
THE TURBINES START TO SPIN,

[00:23:34.198]
AND THE NEXT THING YOU
KNOW, YOU'RE IN THE AIR.

[00:23:36.498]
WE TAKE FOR GRANTED HOW A PLANE
WEIGHING 1/2 MILLION POUNDS

[00:23:39.328]
ACTUALLY LIFTS OFF THE
GROUND WITH SUCH EASE.

[00:23:41.458]
HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?

[00:23:42.828]
IT'S EASY, MAN.

[00:23:44.178]
IT'S ENGINES.

[00:23:46.268]
MOST MODERN-DAY JET AIRPLANES
USE GAS TURBINE ENGINES

[00:23:49.048]
TO PROVIDE THRUST.

[00:23:50.588]
BUT HOW DOES A TURBINE
ENGINE WORK?

[00:23:52.718]
I SPOKE WITH NASA
RESEARCHER THERESA BENYO

[00:23:54.938]
AT OCEANA NAVAL AIR
STATION IN VIRGINIA BEACH,

[00:23:57.078]
VIRGINIA, TO FIND OUT MORE.

[00:23:58.808]
AN ENGINE IS A MACHINE
THAT CONVERTS ENERGY

[00:24:01.638]
INTO MECHANICAL MOTION,

[00:24:03.338]
JUST LIKE A CAR CONVERTS
COMBUSTED GASOLINE INTO A FORCE

[00:24:07.458]
THAT CAUSES THE WHEELS TO TURN
AND CAUSE THE CAR TO MOVE.

[00:24:10.998]
AND THERE ARE MANY TYPES OF
ENGINES: ELECTRIC ENGINE,

[00:24:14.108]
TURBINE ENGINE, JUST LIKE
THE ONE WE'RE STANDING

[00:24:16.728]
IN FRONT OF HERE.

[00:24:17.328]
THIS IS A GAS TURBINE ENGINE.

[00:24:20.198]
THIS ENGINE, AND ALL THE OTHERS,
ARE CREATED TO DO ONE THING,

[00:24:25.488]
AND THAT IS TO PRODUCE POWER.

[00:24:27.978]
[00:24:30.108]
WHAT KIND OF ENGINE
DOES A JET PLANE USE

[00:24:31.648]
FOR POWER, AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

[00:24:34.488]
WELL, JOHNNY, A JET PLANE
USES A GAS TURBINE ENGINE

[00:24:37.258]
FOR ITS POWER.

[00:24:38.198]
THIS IS HOW A GAS TURBINE
WORKS: THE AIR ENTERS THE ENGINE

[00:24:41.368]
THROUGH AN INLET, AND IT IS
COMPRESSED BY A COMPRESSOR.

[00:24:45.068]
THE COMPRESSOR TAKES THE AIR
FROM THE OUTSIDE OF THE ENGINE

[00:24:48.308]
AND SQUEEZES IT INTO
A VERY HIGH PRESSURE,

[00:24:50.748]
AND THAT HIGH-PRESSURE AIR IS
NEEDED BY THE COMBUSTOR TO BURN

[00:24:55.038]
WITH THE FUEL AND CAUSE A VERY
HIGH-PRESSURE, HIGH-VELOCITY GAS

[00:24:59.778]
THAT IS USED BY THE TURBINE

[00:25:01.708]
TO ACCELERATE THE GAS
THAT'S CREATED OUT THE BACK

[00:25:05.598]
OF THE ENGINE TO CAUSE THE
ENGINE TO MOVE FORWARD.

[00:25:08.848]
TOGETHER, THESE PARTS
PRODUCE THRUST.

[00:25:12.138]
THRUST IS A MECHANICAL FORCE.

[00:25:14.058]
IT'S A REACTION CAUSED
BY ACCELERATING A GAS.

[00:25:17.778]
THE GAS IS ACCELERATED
THROUGH THE ENGINE,

[00:25:20.608]
AND THAT CAUSES THE ENGINE TO
MOVE IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.

[00:25:25.128]
THIS IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN
A PROPELLER-TYPE ENGINE, WHICH--

[00:25:29.228]
A PROPELLER ACTUALLY
PULLS THE ENGINE

[00:25:32.248]
AND CAUSES THE AIRCRAFT
TO GO FORWARD.

[00:25:34.748]
SO A JET ENGINE PUSHES THE
ENGINE THROUGH THE AIR,

[00:25:38.258]
AND A PROPELLER ENGINE PULLS
THE ENGINE THROUGH THE AIR.

[00:25:41.258]
SO, THERESA, DO A
COMMERCIAL PLANE

[00:25:42.908]
AND A FIGHTER JET USE THE SAME
ENGINE OR HAVE THE SAME ENGINE?

[00:25:46.288]
WELL, NO, THEY DON'T.

[00:25:47.508]
A COMMERCIAL PLANE USES AN
ENGINE CALLED A SUBSONICAW

[00:25:51.338]
NGINE, WHICH MEANS IT FLIES
LESS THAN THE SPEED OF SOUND.

[00:25:55.768]
AND A MILITARY JET USES
A SUPERSONICAW NGINE,

[00:25:59.488]
WHICH CAUSES IT TO FLY GREATER
THAN THE SPEED OF SOUND.

[00:26:02.378]
NOW, IN ORDER TO MAKE IT FLY
GREATER THAN THE SPEED OF SOUND,

[00:26:05.328]
IT NEEDS A LITTLE
BIT MORE THRUST

[00:26:07.288]
THAN A COMMERCIAL
GAS TURBINE ENGINE.

[00:26:09.758]
IT USES AFTERBURNERS.

[00:26:11.688]
AFTERBURNERS ARE ATTACHED TO
THE EXIT OF THE ENGINE RIGHT

[00:26:15.098]
AFTER THE TURBINE SECTION.

[00:26:16.768]
AND WHAT THE AFTERBURNER
DOES IS, IT BURNS MORE FUEL

[00:26:20.648]
AND PRODUCES A LOT MORE THRUST
AND CAUSES THE ENGINE TO FLY

[00:26:24.738]
AT SPEEDS GREATER THAN
THE SPEED OF SOUND.

[00:26:26.978]
WHAT IS NASA'S INVOLVEMENT

[00:26:28.278]
IN THE DEVELOPMENT
OF THESE ENGINES?

[00:26:30.178]
WELL, MOST PEOPLE, WHEN
THEY THINK OF NASA,

[00:26:32.078]
THEY THINK OF SPACE, BUT
THE FIRST "A" IN NASA STANDS

[00:26:36.088]
FOR AERONAUTICS, SO WE ALSO
WORK ON AERONAUTICS RESEARCH,

[00:26:40.088]
SUCH AS THE ULTRAEFFICIENT
ENGINE TECHNOLOGY

[00:26:43.368]
AT GLENN RESEARCH CENTER.

[00:26:45.218]
WHAT WE'RE DOING THERE
IS WORKING ON RESEARCH

[00:26:49.088]
TO CREATE ENGINES THAT ARE
MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY

[00:26:52.658]
AND MORE EFFICIENT.

[00:26:54.678]
WE FOUND THAT A COMBUSTOR
WORKS REALLY EFFICIENTLY

[00:26:58.688]
WHEN YOU BURN A LOT
OF FUEL VERY QUICKLY.

[00:27:01.948]
WELL, THAT IN TURN CREATES
A LOT OF HIGH TEMPERATURES

[00:27:04.628]
IN THE COMBUSTOR, AND
THE MATERIALS THAT ARE

[00:27:06.818]
IN THE ENGINES RIGHT NOW
JUST CAN'T WITHSTAND THOSE

[00:27:09.378]
TEMPERATURES WITHOUT FAILING.

[00:27:11.488]
SO WHAT WE'RE DOING IS, WE'RE
LOOKING AT NEW MATERIALS

[00:27:14.718]
THAT CAN BE CREATED

[00:27:15.948]
THAT WITHSTAND THOSE
HIGHER TEMPERATURES

[00:27:18.408]
AND IN TURN WILL BE
ABLE TO CREATE ENGINES

[00:27:20.888]
THAT ARE MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY
FRIENDLY.

[00:27:23.198]
COOL. GO, NASA.

[00:27:25.998]
THAT'S ALL FOR THIS EDITION
OF DESTINATION TOMORROW.

[00:27:28.778]
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

[00:27:29.828]
I'M STEELE McGONEGAL.

[00:27:30.778]
AND I'M KERA O'BRYON.

[00:27:32.038]
FOR ALL OF US HERE AT NASA,
WE'LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

[00:27:34.578]