Don Nolan-Proxmire Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1983) Catherine E.

Watson Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA (Phone: 804/864-6122)

March 14, 1996

Dill Hunley Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA (Phone: 805/258-3447) Lori Rachul Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, OH (Phone: 216/433-8806) RELEASE: 96-50 U.S.-RUSSIAN FLIGHT RESEARCH PROGRAM BEGINS WITH SST ROLLOUT A modified Russian supersonic passenger jet will rollout of its hangar on March 17 to symbolize the start of a joint six-month flight research program between NASA, a U.S. industry team and the Russian aerospace industry. The Russian Tupolev Design Bureau, Tu-144LL, a supersonic flying laboratory, will carry experiments in support of NASAÕs High-Speed Research (HSR) program. The HSR program, begun in 1990, teams NASA with U.S. industry to conduct research on technology that may allow the future development of a new High-Speed Civil Transport (HSCT) at the turn of the century. The U.S. industry team for the Tu144 project is led by Boeing with support from McDonnell Douglas, Rockwell, Pratt & Whitney and General Electric. The Tu-144LL project was enabled by an agreement signed in June 1993 in Vancouver, Canada, by Vice President Gore and Russian Prime Minister Vicktor Chernomyrdin. This is the most significant joint aeronautics program to date between the two countries. "Using the Tu-144LL is a perfect fit between our needs and their capabilities. It's a model for cooperative technology programs with Russia," said Alliance Development

Office director Louis J. Williams. "This effort will provide up-to-date information on the "real world" conditions that a supersonic airliner operates in - data we wouldn't otherwise be able to obtain easily." -more-2The project calls for the Russian-made aircraft to make 32 flights in six months beginning this spring. All flights will be in Russia. Six NASA/U.S. industry experiments will be flown at various times throughout the period. Two more experiments will be conducted on the ground using a Tu-144 engine. The Tu-144 can fly at Mach 2.3, or 2.3 times the speed of sound - approximately 1,500 mph. Its speed and availability make it the perfect vehicle for NASA to conduct studies of high-temperature structures and materials, acoustics, supersonic aerodynamics and supersonic propulsion. To prepare the Tu-144 for flight, its original engines were removed in favor of larger and newer NK-321 augmented turbofan engines, originally produced for the Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack bomber. The engines are one of many upgrades and modifications. The airlinerÕs passenger seats were removed to make room for the experiments' instrumentation and data collection. The work is being done by the Tupolev Design Bureau, which developed the Tu-144. All Tu-144LL flights will originate from the Zhukovsky Airfield in Russia. A total of 17 Tu-144s were manufactured, including a prototype and five "D" models. The aircraft chosen for the flight test program is one of the D models, which have slightly different specifications than a production model. The world's first supersonic transport flight was made by a Tu-144 prototype on Dec. 31, 1968. The sleek, needle-nosed aircraft was originally designed for service in the Russian airline industry. A Tu-144 first flew passengers on a flight from Moscow to Alma-Ala, Kazakhstan on Nov. 1, 1977. As envisioned by NASA's HSR program, the nextgeneration HSCT would fly 300 passengers at 2.4 times the speed of sound - crossing the Pacific or Atlantic in less

than half the time presently required on modern subsonic, wide-bodied jets - at an affordable ticket price, estimated at less than 20 percent above comparable subsonic flights, and be environmentally friendly. The technology to make the HSCT possible is being developed by an unprecedented teaming of major U.S. aerospace companies in the multi-year HSR program. The NASA HSR team is led by the HSR Program Office, located at Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, and is supported by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, and the Ames and Lewis Research Centers. The major U.S. corporate partners in the HSR program are Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, Rockwell North American Aircraft Div., General Electric Aircraft Engines and Pratt & Whitney. - end NASA press releases and other information are available automatically by sending an Internet electronic mail message to domo@hq.nasa.gov. In the body of the message (not the subject line) users should type the words "subscribe pressrelease" (no quotes). The system will reply with a confirmation via E-mail of each subscription. A second automatic message will include additional information on the service. NASA releases also are available via CompuServe using the command GO NASA.