Announcing “The NACA Centenary: A Symposium on 100 Years of Aerospace Research and Development”

NACA LogoOn March 3, 1915, Congress established the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, or N-A-C-A, “to supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight with a view to their practical solution, and to determine the problems which should be experimentally attacked, and to discuss their solution and their application to practical questions.” In 1958, the NACA’s staff, research facilities, and know-how were transitioned to the new NASA.

From March 3-4, 2015, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum and the NASA History Program Office will host a special symposium open to the public that commemorates a century of aerospace research and development. The symposium will take place in the “Moving Beyond Earth” Gallery at the National Air and Space Museum, 600 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington D.C. The NASA mirror site for this symposium is here. The National Air and Space Museum site for the symposium is here.

Dr. William P. Barry, NASA Chief Historian
Dr. Roger D. Launius, National Air and Space Museum
Dr. Richard Hallion, Florida Polytechnic University

Attendence is free but we ask participants to register by contacting Please provide your name, email address, and affiliation.

Tuesday – March 3, 2015

8:45 – 9:15  Registration
9:15  Welcoming Remarks
9:30 Keynote Address:
What is the NACA Model of Research and Development? Reflections on a Century of Flight – Roger D. Launius, National Air and Space Museum
10:15 – 11:45 Setting the Stage
Moderator: William P. Barry, NASA HeadquartersFlight Not Improbable: Octave Chanute tackles aeronautics as a civil engineer — Simine Short, National Soaring MuseumFalse Start: The Langley Aerodynamical Laboratory, 1911-1915 — Tom D. Crouch, National Air and Space MuseumThe US Military and the Creation of the NACA — Laurence Burke, Carnegie Mellon University
11:45 – 1:00 Lunch Break
1:00 – 2:30 Early History of NACA
Moderator: Stephen Garber, NASA HeadquartersBringing aerodynamics and aeronautical engineering to the American University —Deborah G. Douglas, MIT MuseumNACA, Naval Aviation and MIT: Establishing the Practice of Aeronautical Engineering — John Tylko, MITTransplanting Göttingen to the Tidewater: The NACA and German Aerodynamics, 1919-1926 — Richard P. Hallion, Florida Polytechnic UniversityThe War, the NACA and the Convention: Laying the Ideological Foundation for Federal Regulation during the Wilson Administration — Sean Seyer, University of Kansas
2:30 – 3:00 Break
3:00 – 4:30 Flight Test and Research
Moderator: Richard P. Hallion, Florida Polytechnic UniversityConducting Research in Flight: A Unique NACA Contribution to Aerospace — Robert E. Curry, NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, RetiredThe NACA, the Airplane Propeller, and World War II — Jeremy R. Kinney, National Air and Space Museum“The Real Right Stuff”: An Historical Examination of the Culture and Accomplishments of the NACA Research Pilot, 1917-1958 — James R. Hansen, Auburn UniversityFlight Test to Moon Shot: The NACA, the Astronauts, and the Culture of Experiment, 1959–1969 — Matthew H. Hersch, University of Pennsylvania

Wednesday – March 4, 2015

9:10 Houskeeping/Keynote Introduction
9:15 – 10:00 Keynote Address:
The NACA in the 1930’s – Trailblazing the Technical World of Aerodynamics — John D. Anderson, National Air and Space Museum
10:00 – 11:45 Key Aspects of NACA Research
Moderator: Michael J. Neufeld, National Air and Space MuseumThe NACA and Research Policy at the Hands of History — Robert Ferguson, Independent ResearcherEpochs of Space Technology at NASA: NACA to OART and Beyond — John C. Mankins, Artemis Innovation Management Solutions, LLCWomen of NACA: STEM Stories to Inspire Future Generations — Adrienne Provenzano, STEAM EducatorThe NACA at Lewis Laboratory, a Legacy of Ohioans Solving the Problem of Flight — Shannon Bohle, Archivopedia, LLC
11:45 – 1:00 Lunch Break
1:00 – 3:00 Transformations
Moderator: F. Robert van der Linden, National Air and Space MuseumThe NACA Transition to Space: Validating the Blunt Body — Glenn Bugos, NASA Ames Research CenterReaction Control Systems and the NACA — Christian Gelzer, NASA Armstrong Research CenterTin Soldiers and Glass Slippers: How Postwar Competition Sailplane Development Shifted from America to Europe — Russell Lee, National Air and Space MuseumTowards Victory: NACA Public Relations on the Coattails of the Cold War, 1946-1958 —Kristen Starr, Auburn University
3:00 – 3:30 Break
3:30 – 5:00 The Next Assignment: A Panel Discussion 
Chair: Peter Jakab, National Air and Space MuseumMark Lewis, IDA Science and Technology Policy InstituteMichael Gorn, Research Associate, National Air and Space MuseumJanet Bednarek, University of DaytonPeter Westwick, University of Southern California
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