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    NASA’s First New Wind Tunnel in 40 Years Will Turn Science Fiction to Fact

    NASA's First New Wind Tunnel in 40 Years Will Turn Science Fiction to Fact

    Flying cars. Space tourism. Safe reentry for astronauts coming back from Mars.

    These technologies are still science fiction, but some won't be for much longer, according to Charles “Mike” Fremaux, Langley Research Center's chief engineer for intelligent flight systems.

    To test these concepts, particularly in regard to public and safety, NASA Langley is building its first wind tunnel in over 40 years. The NASA Flight Dynamic Research Facility, a project Fremaux has been pursuing for 25 years, will replace two smaller wind tunnels that are around 80 years old. The center's most recent and largest, the National Transonic Facility, was built in 1980.

    “These facilities are really kind of tailor-made for doing a lot of that work,” he said at a presentation at the Virginia & Space Science Center in Hampton. The talk was part of NASA Langley's Sigma Series community lectures.

    “That's not our traditional wheelhouse. We haven't tested anything with a propeller on it in decades.”

    That's because many new craft will depend on electric vertical takeoff and landing, or “eVTOL,” technology. With likely dozens or even hundreds of private vehicles in the airways, research is needed to understand how vehicles will react in real-world conditions.

    Fremaux expects some of these technologies will likely be mainstream by 2040 or sooner.

    The $43.2-million federal government contract to…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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