Drucella Andersen Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

November 4, 1991 (Phone: 202/453-8613) Sue Baker USAF Aeronautical Systems Division (Phone: 513/255-2725) Mary Sandy Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Hampton, Va. (Phone: 804/865-0726) RELEASE: 91-182 MISSISSIPPI STATE WINS AERO-SPACE PLANE MOCKUP COMPETITION Undergraduate engineering students at Mississippi State University, Starkville, have won a competition to build a 50-foot mockup of the X-30/National Aero-Space Plane (NASP). Mississippi State will receive a $125,000 award to design and construct the approximately one-third scale mockup, which will be displayed at major aerospace shows and exhibitions throughout the United States. The NASP Joint Program Office, composed of NASA and Department of Defense officials, sponsored the competition to stimulate student interest in aerospace science and to provide an engineering education project tied to a "cutting-edge" technology program. The contest was open to any U.S. college with a 4-year accredited engineering program. A panel of aerospace experts, chosen by the NASP Joint Program Office, selected Mississippi State's mockup proposal. The panel cited the quality of the educational experience described in

the university's proposal, strong student involvement and a large commitment for matching funds as key reasons for their decision. They also noted the university's experience in handling similar engineering projects. - more -2Mississippi State University is a land grant institution with about 14,000 students enrolled. The College of Engineering, celebrating its centennial this year, includes an aerospace engineering department noted for outstanding research in computational fluid dynamics and composite materials. The university also conducts a major interdisciplinary research program to develop instrumentation for analysis of combustion and chemical processes. A National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center, which grew out of joint research in aerospace and electrical engineering, focuses on supercomputer design and applications. The technology challenges inherent in developing the hypersonic X-30 make it a particularly interesting subject for today's engineering students. It will be a flight research vehicle that will pave the way for future aero-space planes using runways for takeoff and landing. NASP technology eventually may allow routine access to Earth orbit and permit very rapid flights from point to point on the globe. In designing and building the mockup, students at Mississippi State will have access to NASP advisors and will gain experience in the teamwork necessary to complete a large engineering design project. In turn, their firsthand experiences in designing and fabricating the mockup will be incorporated into the general body of research and development knowledge about the NASP. The Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Hampton, Va., coordinated the NASP mockup competition. The consortium is a coalition of five Virginia colleges and universities, NASA, state educational agencies, museums, private industry associations and other institutions with diverse educational and aerospace interests.

- end NOTE TO EDITORS: A video clip on the X-30/NASP program is available by calling 202/453-8594.