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Dryden Flight Research Center Gallery

Available as Framed Prints, Photos, Wall Art and Gift Items

Choose from 25 pictures in our Dryden Flight Research Center collection for your Wall Art or Photo Gift. Popular choices include Framed Prints, Canvas Prints, Posters and Jigsaw Puzzles. All professionally made for quick delivery.


D-558-2 Dropped from B-29 Mothership Featured Dryden Flight Research Center Print

D-558-2 Dropped from B-29 Mothership

The D-558-2 #2 is launched from the P2B-1 in this 1956 NACA High-Speed Flight Station photograph. The D-558 Phase Two aircraft was quite different from its Phase One predecessor, the Skystreak. German wartime aeronautical research records, reviewed in 1945 by Douglas Aircraft Company personnel, pointed to many advantages gained from incorporating sweptback wing design into future research aircraft. These findings along with wind tunnel studies performed by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) at Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, resulted in the modification of the straight wing D-558-1 Skystreak contract to include investigation of sweptback wings. Three redesigned aircraft were built by Douglas Aircraft Company under a contract from the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics and named D-558-2 Skyrocket. Originally all three were designed for ground take-off and used mixed power propulsion systems, consisting of a turbojet engine for take-off and a rocket engine, for greater speed in flight. The early flight tests were made using only the turbojet engine with the rocket engines added, when available. As the flight program evolved, only one D-558-2 ended-up powered by a mixed rocket and turbo-jet propulsion system. From the experience gained during the X-1 rocket program and from Skyrocket mixed propulsion flights, the Navy and the NACA proceeded to have all three of the D-558-2 aircraft modified for air launching from a Navy-operated P2B-1 Superfortress (Navy version of the Air Force B-29), later becoming NACA 137. Although not designated an "X vehicle, " the D-558-2 was essentially an X-vehicle aircraft in design and function, and contributed much to aeronautics research

© NASA

Shuttle Enterprise Free Flight Featured Dryden Flight Research Center Print

Shuttle Enterprise Free Flight

The Space Shuttle prototype Enterprise flies free after being released from NASA's 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) over Rogers Dry Lakebed during the second of five free flights carried out at the Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, as part of the Shuttle program's Approach and Landing Tests (ALT). The tests were conducted to verify orbiter aerodynamics and handling characteristics in preparation for orbital flights with the Space Shuttle Columbia beginning in April 1981. A tail cone over the main engine area of Enterprise smoothed out turbulent air flow during flight. It was removed on the two last free flights to accurately check approach and landing characteristics. A series of test flights during which Enterprise was taken aloft atop the SCA, but was not released, preceded the free flight tests. The Space Shuttle Approach and Landing Tests (ALT) program allowed pilots and engineers to learn how the Space Shuttle and the modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) handled during low-speed flight and landing. The Enterprise, a prototype of the Space Shuttles, and the SCA were flown to conduct the approach and landing tests at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, from February to October 1977. The first flight of the program consisted of the Space Shuttle Enterprise attached to the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. These flights were to determine how well the two vehicles flew together. Five "captive-inactive" flights were flown during this first phase in which there was no crew in the Enterprise. The next series of captive flights was flown with a flight crew of two on board the prototype Space Shuttle. Only three such flights proved necessary. This led to the free-flight test series. The free-flight phase of the ALT program allowed pilots and engineers to learn how the Space Shuttle handled in low-speed flight and landing attitudes. For these landings, the Enterprise was flown by a crew of two after it was released from the top of the SCA. The vehicle was released at altitudes ranging from 19, 000 to 26, 000 feet. The Enterprise had no propulsion system, but its first four glides to the Rogers Dry Lake runway provided realistic, in-flight simulations of how subsequent Space Shuttles would be flown at the end of an orbital mission. The fifth approach and landing test, with the Enterprise landing on the Edwards Air Force Base concrete runway, revealed a problem with the Space Shuttle flight control system that made it susceptible to Pilot-Induced Oscillation (PIO), a potentially dangerous control problem during a landing. Further research using other NASA aircraft, especially the F-8 Digital-Fly-By-Wire aircraft, led to correction of the PIO problem before the first orbital flight. The Enterprise's last free-flight was October 26, 1977, after which it was ferried to other NASA centers for ground-based flight simulations that tested Space Shuttle systems and structure

© NASA