Chapter 6 - Wind Tunnels in the Space Age

The Roles of Ames, Langley, and Lewis in Hypersonic Research


[86] Most of the hypersonic/hypervelocity facilities just mentioned emerged in some form during the 1950s and early 1960s at Ames, Langley, and Lewis centers. Ames tended to focus on the extreme temperature problems encountered by space vehicles returning to Earth from outer space, whereas Langley's main thrust was in the area of relatively large facilities applicable to hypersonic cruise aircraft and reentry vehicles-including winged reentry. Lewis concentrated on the propulsion aspects. As the era of NACA drew to a close in 1958, the NACA Centers had already embarked on space-related research that later would provide the technical foundation for NASA space programs.