Wind Tunnel Testing
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Wind Tunnel Testing

June 25, 2009
Test engineer Alonzo Frost is shown with a crew launch vehicle model being tested in the MSFC Aerodynamics Research Facility. Testing is under way by engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., to lay the foundation for developing the Crew Launch Vehicle, the agency's future launch vehicle system.

Sixty-six wind tunnel tests were conducted on a 16.5-inch scale model of the vehicle. The tunnel is 48 inches long with a 14-inch by 14-inch cross section. Wind tunnel "flights" are used to assess new geometric configurations before designs are incorporated into space vehicles. In the tube-like, tunnel structure, giant fans or high-pressure air generate artificial wind to flow over vehicles, engines, rockets or scale-model hardware, helping scientists determine flight performance characteristics of new concepts.

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