Index Home About Blog
From: (JamesOberg)
Subject: Re: NASA->NACA: How to get there from here (was Re: Why isn't CATS 
Date: 20 Aug 1998 12:37:48 GMT

re NACA --> NASA,

Max Faget's joke was to write it on a blackboard, then make two verticle
strokes, through the "C" and the "S", to indicate the REAL difference.

From: (Henry Spencer)
Subject: Re: NASA original name?
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 13:35:07 GMT

In article <7g1r3c$107$>,
Roger Balettie  <> wrote:
>We were reviewing some propulsion tables and a student asked about "Nacka"
>(phonetically sounding out the NACA acronym).  Dr. Westkamper got *very*
>upset and told him that, under no circumstances, was he to say that again.
>Apparently, the NACA guys referred to it as "Enn Ayy See Ayy" (spelling out
>the acronym, instead of "word-izing" it).

They also tended to put "the" on the front.  That is, rather than saying
"NACA has decided...", they'd say "The NACA has decided...".  Both of
these usages carried over to the early days of NASA to some degree, but
seem to have gradually faded away.

>It made us wonder if there was some "bad blood" between the old-guard NACA
>troops and NASA?

Especially on the aeronautics side, not everybody was happy with the rapid
and drastic changes.  NACA had been a quiet little research group which
seldom did anything in a hurry, rarely contracted work out, and was not
very interested in spaceflight.
The good old days                   |  Henry Spencer
weren't.                            |      (aka

From: "Jeff Greason" <>
Subject: Re: NACA tech transfer to industry
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 12:10:13 -0800

<> wrote in message
> Everybody knows that the NACA supported US companies with all sorts of
> aeronautical data in the good 'ol days before NASA.  Many wish NASA
> could be downsized and forced to operate in a similar fashion today.
> But how did the NACA actually transfer its data to industry?  Could any
> old company call up NACA and ask for reams of wind-tunnel data on a
> selection of airfoils, say, and expect to get it in the mail the
> following week?

On the level of starting new work, I'm not sure how projects were selected;
it's a good question!

On the distribution of the data, the NACA published reports, which are
marvels of clarity, brevity, and utility compared to most modern NASA
research reports.  I hit the library about once every 2 months to look
up references, and usually at least 1/3 of my references are old NACA
reports.  A "typical" report might be 8-12 pages of text and 15-30 pages
of pictures, charts, and graphs.  This makes them veritable gold mines of
data on virtually anything one might want to know about aerodynamics,
controls, or propeller powerplants (weaker on jets and rockets, of course).

The first 2-3 years of NASA had similarly good reports, then they dropped
way off.  Still some excellent ones, of course, but the signal/noise ratio
dropped quite a bit, IMO.

"Limited funds are a blessing, not         Jeff Greason
a curse.  Nothing encourages creative      President & Eng. Mgr.
thinking in quite the same way." --L. Yau  XCOR Aerospace
   <>                <>

Index Home About Blog