NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Historic Facilities
Glenn Research Center
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Altitude Wind Tunnel/Space Power Chambers
Historic Facilities at NASA Glenn
When constructed in the early 1940s, the Altitude Wind Tunnel (AWT) was the nation’s only wind tunnel capable of studying full-scale engines under realistic flight conditions. It played a significant role in the development of the first U.S. jet engines as well as technologies such as the afterburner and variable-area nozzle. In the late 1950s, the tunnel's interior components were removed so that hardware for Project Mercury could be tested in altitude conditions. In 1961, a portion of the tunnel was converted into one of the country’s first large vacuum tanks and renamed the Space Power Chambers (SPC). SPC was used extensively throughout the 1960s for the Centaur rocket program.
AWT Control Room 
Control panel in AWT control room
 Interactive History
Multimedia Presentation
Launch Interactive History
This award-winning multimedia piece allows one to interactively learn about the AWT facility and the research conducted there. The piece contains a chronological history of the AWT from its construction and testing of early jet engines during World War II, through the space programs of the 1960s, and to its final use as the Microwave Systems Laboratory. In all, there are over 200 photographs and video clips, including a 1961 NASA documentary on the AWT. Also included are layouts with corresponding images of the facility in different configurations. Links to over 70 related reports and publications are provided, as well.
 Panoramic Views of the Altitude Wind Tunnel
Click photo areas below to view a Quicktime virtual reality view of that location as it appeared during final photographic surveys of the AWT in 2005 and 2007.  The highlighted sections are scheduled for demolition in 2008.

Please note:  Quicktime virtual reality is not supported on 64-bit Windows platform. 

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