An Update of the Nation's Long-Term Strategic Needs for NASA's Aeronautics Test Facilities

by Philip S. Anton, Raj Raman, Jan Osburg, James G. Kallimani

Download

Download eBook for Free

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 4.5 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Summary Only

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.3 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Purchase

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback120 pages $33.50 $26.80 20% Web Discount

An independent review of the U.S. ability to develop aeronautical vehicles found that the country continues to rely on the capabilities of large government test facilities, including wind tunnels, propulsion test cells, and simulators owned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). These vehicles include civil and military transports, business jets, general aviation, military fighters and bombers, missiles, unmanned vehicles, helicopters, engines, air-breathing hypersonic vehicles, and extraterrestrial planetary air vehicles. Test facility use varies greatly year-to-year despite this continuing long-term need, introducing facility sustainment challenges. Also, despite the strategic importance of new, more advanced facilities, lack of federal investments is forcing the retention of aging and sometimes inferior capabilities. NASA and the nation need to continue developing an aeronautics test technology vision and plan to guide investments, coordination, and sustained support for these vital capabilities. Redundancy within NASA is minimal, but continued dwindling, long-term need for two of the 29 facilities we identified as strategically important in our 2002-2004 study means that these two should be removed from that list. NASA's new Aeronautic Test Program reflects strategic engineering needs and has made progress in bolstering critical support to retain these strategically important capabilities at NASA. National reliance and consolidation with the Department of Defense and U.S. industry facilities to further reduce redundancy remains the next opportunity despite the challenge of reconciling financial and mission differences.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Background

  • Chapter Two

    Wind Tunnels and Propulsion Test Facilities

  • Chapter Three

    Simulators

  • Chapter Four

    Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    NASA, DoD, and Industry Input Details

  • Appendix B

    Simulator Descriptions

  • Appendix C

    Technical Discussion of Simulation and Simulators

The research in this briefing was funded and sponsored by NASA Headquarters and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The study was conducted jointly under the auspices of the RAND Transportation, Space, and Technology (TST) Program within RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment; and the Acquisition and Technology Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

This report is part of the RAND Corporation documented briefing series. RAND documented briefings are based on research presented to a client, sponsor, or targeted audience in briefing format. Additional information is provided in the documented briefing in the form of the written narration accompanying the briefing charts. All RAND documented briefings undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity. However, they are not expected to be comprehensive and may present preliminary findings. Major research findings are published in the monograph series; supporting or preliminary research is published in the technical report series.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.