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FAS Project on Intelligence Reform

EL-1996-00053 - Hypersonic Facilities Complex

LISAR Number: EL-1996-00053
LaRC Number: L-89-11615

The Hypersonic Facilities Complex consists of nine hypersonic wind tunnels located at three Langley sites. These facilities are considered a complex because together they represent a major unique national resource for wind-tunnel testing. The complex currently includes the following: 15-Inch Mach 6 High-Temperature Tunnel, 12-Inch Mach 6 High Reynolds Number Tunnel, 20-Inch Mach 6 Tunnel, 20-Inch Mach 6 CF4 Tunnel, 18-Inch Mach 8 Tunnel, 31-Inch Mach 10Tunnel, 20-Inch Mach 17 N2 Tunnel, 60-Inch Mach 18 Helium Tunnel, and 22-Inch Mach 20 Helium Tunnel. These facilities are used to study and to assess the aerodynamic, aerothermodynamic, and fluid dynamic phenomena associated with advanced manned space transportation systems, such as Personnel Launch System vehicles, Assured Crew Return Vehicleconcepts, and Advanced Manned Launch System concepts; to support the development of the National Aero-Space Plane technology, lunar return and Mars entry and return vehicles, and hypersonic missiles and transports; to perform basic fluid dynamics studies of complex flowphenomena such as shock-shock interactions and shock impingements; to establish data bases for calibration of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) codes; and to develop measurement and testing techniques.

This complex of facilities provides an unparalleled capability at a single installation to study aerodynamic, aerothermodynamic, and fluid dynamic phenomena for advanced aerospace vehicleconcepts over wide ranges of hypersonic simulation parameters, namely Mach number, Reynolds number, density ratio or ratio of specific heats, and thermal driver potential (wall-temperatureratio). Several modifications have recently been made and are continuing to be made to the facilitiesto improve their flow quality, reliability, productivity, and capability.


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Updated Wednesday, January 29, 1997