SOFBALLStructure of Flame Balls at Low Lewis-number (space experiment)
SOFBALLStructures of Flame Balls At Low Lewis-Number Experiment
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As the lead scientist and principal investigator, respectively, of the SOFBALL project, they were monitoring two teams of Columbia astronauts studying fire - research that could someday lead to cleaner-burning engines in automobiles and aircraft.
Both men had worked with astronauts Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla and Ilan Ramon off and on for the past two years on the research project known as SOFBALL, short for Structure of Flame Balls at Low Lewis numbers - a series of experiments studying how tiny balls of flame react in zero gravity.
Ronney first proposed the SOFBALL study to NASA in 1989; a shuttle mission in 1997 - the one for which he was on the stand-by crew - returned some preliminary data, but he and other researchers expected to get the bulk of their data on this, the last of their project's missions.