With a local legend, NASA’s Langley Research Center, in Hampton, celebrating its centennial in 2017, a team of Daily Press writers felt inspired to explore its history and influence. The result is a book, “The Unknown and Impossible,” and the team of authors plans to discuss the work and field audience questions Wednesday evening at the Williamsburg Library.
“It’s a really fascinating story,” said co-author Mike Holtzclaw, also an entertainment reporter for the Daily Press. He described researching the book as eye-opening. “There are details that a lot of people don’t really know about.”
The collaborative process behind the book saw Mark St. John Erickson, who covers history at the Newport News-based newspaper, focusing on the center’s first 50 years, when it focused on aviation. Science reporter Tamara Dietrich took on the last half-century when the facility’s focus shifted to the space program.
Holtzclaw was charged with filling in gaps and relaying how the site impacted the surrounding area as well as pop culture. Reporters Jane Hammond and Josh Reyes round out the list of contributors. The Virginia Gazette is owned by the same media group as the Daily Press.
Holtzclaw said the book emphasizes the “incredible impact that the work at this center over the past century has had.”
“If you have flown on an airplane in your life, the design of that airplane reflects the work that was done at NASA Langley,” he said. “That’s really amazing to me, to think about that.”
Want to go?
The authors of “The Unknown and Impossible” will discuss the book at 7 p.m. inside the Williamsburg Library. A Q-and-A session will follow. Free.
Birkenmeyer can be reached by phone at 757-790-3029.