Cover: Wind Tunnel and Propulsion Test Facilities

Wind Tunnel and Propulsion Test Facilities

Supporting Analyses to an Assessment of NASA’s Capabilities to Serve National Needs

Published Nov 16, 2004

by Philip S. Anton, Dana J. Johnson, Michael Block, Michael Scott Brown, Jeffrey A. Drezner, James Dryden, Eugene C. Gritton, Thomas Hamilton, Thor Hogan, Richard Mesic, et al.


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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) establishment and use of wind tunnel and propulsion test facilities have helped the United States build and maintain aerospace competitive advantage across the military, commercial, and space sectors. Are these major facilities continuing to serve the current and future needs of the nation at large? At the request of Congress and NASA, the RAND Corporation performed a yearlong study of the 31 such facilities at three NASA centers. The study examined current and future national needs for wind tunnel and propulsion test facilities, the technical competitiveness of NASA’s facilities, functional overlap and redundancy among NASA facilities, and management issues. Through its findings, the RAND team provided many recommendations for NASA regarding the future of these facilities. This technical report supports a companion monograph (Wind Tunnel and Propulsion Test Facilities: An Assessment of NASA’s Capabilities to Serve National Needs, MG-178-NASA/OSD), providing more detailed data, observations, and conclusions.

The research described in this report was prepared for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center supported by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the unified commands, and the defense agencies.

This report is part of the RAND technical report series. RAND technical reports may include research findings on a specific topic that is limited in scope or intended for a narrow audience; present discussions of the methodology employed in research; provide literature reviews, survey instruments, modeling exercises, guidelines for practitioners and research professionals, and supporting documentation; or deliver preliminary findings. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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