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The titanic wind tunnels NASA used to test aircraft

Windtunnels 1

Fantastic images of early NASA test equipment from Mashable.

NASA’s earliest wind tunnel predates NASA itself, and was built in 1920 at the Langley Research Center, then under the auspices of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).

As flight technology became more advanced and complex, so did the testing facilities. Specialized tunnels were developed to simulate subsonic, transsonic, supersonic and even hypersonic speeds — five times the speed of sound. Some tunnels can approximate the fiery heat of atmospheric re-entry, while others can test the effects of ice buildup at high altitudes. Some newer facilities can magnetically suspend aircraft models in midair, eliminating aerodynamic interference from support structures.

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