WIND TUNNELS OF NASA

 

Chapter 6 - Wind Tunnels in the Space Age

NASA Wind Tunnels: Early Thoughts

 

[77] The initial NASA wind tunnel inventory, even with NACA and JPL facilities combined, could not meet the new and ambitious requirements projected by NASA. It was an exciting time. Not only were there accelerated plans to overtake the Russian lead in space, but also the first "A" in NASA could not be neglected-it stood for "aeronautics." On the aeronautics side, supersonic transports, VTOL craft, and variable-sweep aircraft were on the immediate horizon. The country was expanding in several technological directions at once. One question NASA had to answer immediately involved wind tunnels. Because they took a long time to build, should extant facilities and those under construction be modified in accordance with NASA objectives, and if so, how? Must new tunnels be built to meet the sudden acceleration of space technology?

Regardless of the answers, pre-NASA momentum was so great that some NACA-planned wind tunnels inevitably carried over into the NASA era with scarcely any modifications. The three carry- overs were all located at Langley. The fact that they were preSputnik in concept did not make them any less valuable or interesting.


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