Rice experts available to discuss Orion launch

first_imgShareEXPERT ALERTDavid [email protected] Williams713-348-[email protected] experts available to discuss Orion launch HOUSTON – (Dec. 4, 2014) – Rice University experts are available to discuss NASA’s impending launch of the Orion spacecraft on its first test flight, now planned for Dec. 5.David Alexander, director of the Rice Space Institute and a professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University, works closely with NASA as it develops the technology and policy, often with the participation of Rice faculty and students, that will once again provide the United States a way to launch astronauts into space.Tayfun Tezduyar, Rice’s James F. Barbour Professor of Mechanical Engineering, is an expert in computer modeling of fluid-structure interactions and parachute aerodynamics who helped design Orion’s all-new parachute system for the American space program’s first water landings since the Skylab missions in the 1970s.Tezduyar can discuss the advanced technology involved in slowing the spacecraft from a top re-entry speed of 20,000 miles per hour to a splashdown speed of about 23 feet per second.George Abbey, the Baker Botts Senior Fellow in Space Policy at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, is former director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. He was assigned to NASA’s Apollo program as an Air Force captain in 1964 and became director of flight operations, responsible for all manned missions, in 1976.The unmanned Orion spacecraft, designed for deep space missions, will launch atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket that will boost it into an elliptical orbit 3,600 miles above Earth. That will allow NASA to simulate re-entry from deep space to test the onboard computers, heat shields and parachute systems.To request interviews, contact Mike Williams at [email protected] or 713-348-6728.-30-Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNewsLocated on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,920 undergraduates and 2,567 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just over 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 2 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go here. AddThislast_img read more