As the coalition of Bay Areas counties predicted when it lobbied for the creation of Moffett Federal Airfield in the late 1920s, the base's research program and facilities catalyzed the development of numerous private technology and aerospace corporations, among them Lockheed Martin and the Hiller Aircraft Corporation.
Over the years, the NASA Ames Research Center used its laboratories and wind tunnels to test dozens of propulsion systems and airplane designs.
The beginning of a West Coast National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) Aeronautical Laboratory
Recommending Moffett Federal Airfield The NACA puts together a special committee on the relationship of NACA to National Defense in time of war, chaired by the Chief of the Army Air Corps, Major General Oscar Westover. Its report, released two years later, called for expanded facilities in the form of a new laboratory—an action underscored by Charles Lindbergh, who had just returned from a European tour warning that Germany clearly surpassed America in military aviation.
The Moffett Federal Airfield area is selected over dozens of competing sites by a federal committee headed by aviator Charles Lindbergh. Centrally located on the West Coast, protected by coastal mountains, next to a large body of water to transport heavy equipment, and with its mammoth, unmistakable Hangar One (Moffett Field, California) visible from the air, Naval Air Station Moffett Federal Airfield already had aircraft runways, good access to electricity and West Coast industrial centers. Stanford University, which had ongoing wind tunnel research with the Navy had a well-regarded aeronautics program, also creating a draw.
A follow-up committee, chaired by Rear Admiral Arthur Cook,chief of the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics, recommended that the new facility should be located on the West Coast, where it could work closely with the growing aircraft industry in California and Washington.
Following Congressional debate, the NACA received money for expanded facilities at Langley (pacifying the Virginia Congressman who ran the House Appropriations Committee) along with a new laboratory at Moffett Federal Airfield.
August, NACA Charles Lindbergh Committee Established by Congress to evaluate the sites to build the west's NACA Aeronautical Laboratory
September 1, German planes, tanks, and troops invade Poland. and World War II begins.
October, 62 Acres adjacent to NAS Moffett Field are selected for an Aeronautical Laboratory
December 20, Ground is broken for the new aeronautical center
Under the leadership of director Smith De France, researchers came to this NACA Laboratory for more freedom to pursue new ideas. The resulting facility has been on the cutting edge of aeronautics research ever since.
The NACA site at Moffett Federal Airfield becomes the Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, in honor of Dr. Joseph Ames, charter member of the NACA and its longtime chairman.
Key personnel for the new laboratory came from Langley, and the junior lab tended to defer to Langley for some time.
7 December, The Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor Attack
14 & 15 August End of World War II in Asia occurs, when armed forces of Japan surrendered to the forces of the Allied Powers
After World War II After several years of managing their own wartime projects, the Ames laboratory felt less like an adolescent and more like a peer of Langley. The NACA, like NASA after it, became a family of labs, but with strong individual rivalries.
The Ames Aeronautical Laboratory at end of the war has 11 Navy aircraft, including the Ryan FR-1 Fireball, were assigned to the facility.
Building the Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel Complex At a cost of $32 million, construction of the Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel at Ames began in 1950-1951 and continued until 1955.
Because no one wind tunnel could meet all the demands for additional research facilities simulating the entire range of aircraft and missile flight, NACA chose to build the Ames tunnel with three separate test sections drawing power from a common centralized power plant.
The Transonic test section spanned 11 by 11 feet, while the two Subsonic sections were smaller: nine by seven feet and eight by seven feet. Giant valves 20 feet in diameter supplied air from one supersonic leg to another.
The Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel Complex opens. The American West Coast aircraft industry quickly capitalizes on the new research facility.
Famed Boeing fleet of commercial transports and the Douglas DC-8, DC-9, and DC-10 were all tested here; as well as military aircraft such as the F-111 fighter, the C-5A transport and the B-1 bomber.
Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel Complex facts: The site Covers 11 Acres, the basic design integrates and embodies three test sections for different speeds so that a single model can be tested over the entire speed range from Mach 0.40 to Mach 3.45
Congress creates NASA with the National Aeronautics and Space Act The NACA Ames Aeronautical Laboratory was renamed NASA Ames Research Center and became a NASA field center.
May 25, John F. Kennedy's Speech The Decision to Go to the Moon: speech before a Joint Session of Congress
Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel Complex 1960s and 1970s almost all NASA manned space vehicles including the Space Shuttle are tested in the Ames Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel complex.
The Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel complex was nominated and accepted by the Department of Interior as a National Historic Landmark
The wind tunnel complex assets are divided as follows:
The Transonic Wind Tunnel Complex expands to 80 by 120 feet and the power of its huge fans was nearly quadrupled.
Post-Cold War defense cutbacks and related Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) actions in the 1990s identified NAS Moffett Field for closure.
July 1 NASA Ames Research Center (ARC), assumed control of the NAS Moffett Field facility. The NAS Moffett Federal Airfield name was changed to NASA Research Park (NRP), and the Moffett Federal Airfield (MFA).
Supervision of Moffett Federal Airfield's two runways, three aircraft hangars, and 3.5 million square feet of facilities was turned over to the NASA Ames Research Center.
As the new federal custodian, NASA Ames operates the shared facility in the heart of "Silicon Valley" at the southern end of San Francisco Bay and serves as host to a number of other federal, civilian, and military resident agencies.
May The American Society of Mechanical Engineers dedicated the Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel complex as an International Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.
April 30, The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) purchases the aircraft for use as the Sofia Airborne Observatory
October 27, NASA purchased the aircraft from the USRA
Moffett Federal Airfield - Naval Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Toxic Remediation started.
November, Columbia supercomputer debuted as the second most powerful supercomputer on the TOP500 list.
April 26, Sofia Airborne Observatory Maiden flight
December 18, Sofia Airborne Observatory performs the first test flight in which the telescope door was fully opened. This phase lasted for two minutes of the 79-minute flight.
The NASA Ames Research Center leases 42 acres between the research center and San Francisco Bay to Google, Inc.
May 26, Sofia Airborne Observatory's telescope saw first light, returning images showing M82's core and heat from Jupiter's formation escaping through its cloud cover. December, Initial "routine" Sofia Airborne Observatory science flights begin.
Google begins building a 1.1 million square foot office complex consisting of nine buildings overlooking San Francisco Bay dubbed "Bay View." The buildings are to be the new headquarters for Google and will be part of the nearby Googleplex.
The Ames Research Center (ARC), also known as NASA Ames, is a major NASA research center at Moffett Federal Airfield in California's Silicon Valley. It was founded in 1939 as the second National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) laboratory. That agency was dissolved and its assets and personnel transferred to the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on October 1, 1958. NASA Ames is named in honor of Joseph Sweetman Ames, a physicist and one of the founding members of NACA. At last estimate NASA Ames has over US$3 billion in capital equipment, 2,300 research personnel and a US$860 million annual budget.
Moffett Federal Airfield, also known as Moffett Field, is a joint civil-military airport located in an unincorporated part of Santa Clara County, California, United States, between northern Mountain View and northern Sunnyvale. On November 10, 2014, NASA announced that it would be leasing 1,000 acres (400 ha) of the airfield property to Google for 60 years.
The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was a United States federal agency founded on March 3, 1915, to undertake, promote, and institutionalize aeronautical research. On October 1, 1958, the agency was dissolved and its assets and personnel were transferred to the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NACA is an initialism, i.e., pronounced as individual letters, rather than as a whole word.
The NASA Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) is an aeronautical research center operated by NASA. Its primary campus is located inside Edwards Air Force Base in California and is considered NASA's premier site for aeronautical research. AFRC operates some of the most advanced aircraft in the world and is known for many aviation firsts, including critical support for the first crewed airplane to exceed the speed of sound in level flight with the Bell X-1, highest speed ever recorded by a crewed, powered aircraft, the first pure digital fly-by-wire aircraft, and many others. AFRC also operates a second site in Palmdale, Ca. known as Building 703, once the former Rockwell International/North American Aviation production facility, next to Air Force Plant 42. There, AFRC houses and operates several of NASA's Science Mission Directorate aircraft including SOFIA, a DC-8 Flying Laboratory, a Gulfstream C-20A UAVSAR and ER-2 High Altitude Platform. David McBride is currently the center's director.
The Langley Research Center, located in Hampton, Virginia, United States, is the oldest of NASA's field centers. It directly borders Langley Air Force Base and the Back River on the Chesapeake Bay. LaRC has focused primarily on aeronautical research, but has also tested space hardware at the facility, such as the Apollo Lunar Module. In addition, a number of the earliest high-profile space missions were planned and designed on-site, and Langley was considered a potential site for NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center prior to the eventual selection of Houston, Texas.
NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field is a NASA center within the cities of Brook Park and Cleveland between Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the Rocky River Reservation of Cleveland Metroparks, with a subsidiary facility in Sandusky, Ohio. Its director is Marla E. Pérez-Davis. Glenn Research Center is one of ten major NASA facilities, whose primary mission is to develop science and technology for use in aeronautics and space. As of May 2012, it employed about 1,650 civil servants and 1,850 support contractors on or near its site.
The Gerard P. Kuiper Airborne Observatory (KAO) was a national facility operated by NASA to support research in infrared astronomy. The observation platform was a highly modified Lockheed C-141A Starlifter jet transport aircraft with a range of 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km), capable of conducting research operations at altitudes of up to 48,000 feet (14 km).
The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is an 80/20 joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) to construct and maintain an airborne observatory. NASA awarded the contract for the development of the aircraft, operation of the observatory and management of the American part of the project to the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) in 1996. The DSI manages the German parts of the project which are primarily science- and telescope-related. SOFIA's telescope saw first light on May 26, 2010. SOFIA is the successor to the Kuiper Airborne Observatory. During 10-hour, overnight flights, it observes celestial magnetic fields, star-forming regions, comets, nebulae, and the galactic centre.
The Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC), Arnold Engineering Development Center before July 2012, is an Air Force Material Command facility under the control of the Air Force Test Center (AFTC). Headquartered at Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee, the Complex also operates from geographically separated units at Ames Research Center, Mountain View and Edwards AFB, California; Peterson AFB, Colorado; Eglin AFB, Florida; the Federal Research Center at White Oak, Maryland; Holloman AFB, Kirtland AFB, and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico; Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, and Hill AFB, Utah. AEDC operates more than 68 test facilities, including, but not limited to, aerodynamic and propulsion wind tunnels, rocket and turbine engine test cells, environmental chambers, arc heaters, ballistic ranges, sled tracks, centrifuges, and other specialized test units.
The University of Tennessee Space Institute, also known as UTSI, is a satellite campus of the University of Tennessee located near Tullahoma, Tennessee.
Hugh Latimer Dryden was an American aeronautical scientist and civil servant. He served as NASA Deputy Administrator from August 19, 1958, until his death.
Abraham "Abe" Silverstein was an American engineer who played an important part in the United States space program. He was a longtime manager at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). He was instrumental in the planning of the Apollo, Ranger, Mariner, Surveyor, and Voyager missions, and named the Apollo program after the Greek and Roman God.
The Bell XV-3 is an American tiltrotor aircraft developed by Bell Helicopter for a joint research program between the United States Air Force and the United States Army in order to explore convertiplane technologies. The XV-3 featured an engine mounted in the fuselage with driveshafts transferring power to two-bladed rotor assemblies mounted on the wingtips. The wingtip rotor assemblies were mounted to tilt 90 degrees from vertical to horizontal, designed to allow the XV-3 to take off and land like a helicopter but fly at faster airspeeds, similar to a conventional fixed-wing aircraft.
Ira H. Abbott was an American aerospace engineer. A graduate of MIT, Abbott worked for Langley Aeronautical Laboratory in 1929. He was a Director of Aeronautical and Space Research at NASA between 1959 and 1962; before that was employed by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). Abbott supervised the X-15, supersonic transport, nuclear rocket and advanced reentry programs. He retired in 1962. As Assistant Director of NACA, Abbott was decisive in keeping Ames Research Center focused on research instead of moving into operations during the development of the proposed Orbiting Astronomical Observatory in 1960. In recognition for his "outstanding contributions" to airfoil research and his leadership, he was inducted into the first round of the NACA/NASA Hall of Fame on August 13, 2015.
The Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel, located at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Federal Airfield, Mountain View, California, United States, is a research facility used extensively to design and test new generations of aircraft, both commercial and military, as well as NASA space vehicles, including the Space Shuttle. The facility was completed in 1955 and is one of five facilities created after the 1949 Unitary Plan Act supporting aeronautics research.
The Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology (GALCIT), was a research institute created in 1926, at first specializing in aeronautics research. In 1930, Hungarian scientist Theodore von Kármán accepted the directorship of the lab and emigrated to the United States. Under his leadership, work on rockets began there in 1936. GALCIT was the first—and from 1936 to 1940 the only—university-based rocket research center. Based on GALCIT's JATO project at the time, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory was established under a contract with the United States Army in November 1943.
Clarence A. "Sy" Syvertson (1926-2010) was the Center Director of the Ames Research Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, located at Moffett Field, California.
NASA Research Park is a research park run by NASA which is developing a world-class, shared-use research and development campus in association with government entities, academia, industry and non-profit organizations. It is situated near San Jose, California. NASA Research Park was approved by NASA HQ in the fall of 2002 and over the past decade has grown into the research park it is today with 61 tenants and partners.
There are NASA facilities across the United States and around the world. NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC provides overall guidance and political leadership to the agency. There are 10 NASA field centers, which provide leadership for and execution of NASA's work. All other facilities fall under the leadership of at least one of these field centers. Some facilities serve more than one application for historic or administrative reasons. NASA has used or supported various observatories and telescopes, and an example of this is the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility. In 2013 a NASA Office of the Inspector General's (OIG) Report recommended a Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) style organization to consolidate NASA's little used facilities. The OIG determined at least 33 of NASA's 155 facilities were underutilized.
The Propeller Research Tunnel (PRT) was the first full-scale wind tunnel at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) Langley Research Center, and the third at the facility. It was in use between 1927 and 1950 and was instrumental in the drag reduction research of early American aeronautics. In 1929, NACA was awarded its first Collier Trophy for the NACA cowling which was tested and developed using the Propeller Research Tunnel.