Several NASA science aircraft, including (from bottom) the SOFIA observatory, the DC-8 airborne laboratory and an ER-2 high-altitude aircraft, along with one of NASA's modified 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, occupied the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility during dedication ceremonies and an open house for employees and their families on April 9, 2009. (NASA photo / Tom Tschida) The Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility, operated by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, is located in Palmdale, Calif., 70 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. NASA has leased the facility, which consists of 425,000 square feet of existing infrastructure on 16.2 acres, from Los Angeles World Airports for 20 years.
The Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility has direct access to the adjacent U.S. Air Force Production Flight Test Installation (Plant 42) and its two 12,000-foot runways, subject to Air Force procedures. With over 210,000 square feet of hangar space and an equivalent amount of space for offices, labs, conference accommodations and storage, the facility is ideal for collaboration among private industry, visiting scientists and researchers, and aviation-related activity.
Currently, the facility's primary customer and tenant is NASA's Science Mission Directorate, which bases several NASA science aircraft at the site. Owing to such factors as a flight-friendly climate, geographical advantages and regional economic growth, Dryden anticipates that this facility will become increasingly attractive to aerospace- and aviation-related businesses that are looking for a new location or expansion opportunity.
The Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility's location adjacent to Air Force Plant 42 places it at the cornerstone of the aerospace research, development and flight test complex in Southern California's high desert. In addition to being near major plants operated by Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman at or adjacent to Plant 42, Dryden's facility is only a short distance from Edwards Air Force Base; the Mojave Air and Spaceport; the Naval Air Warfare Center at China Lake; General Atomics Aeronautical Systems' assembly and checkout facilities at Adelanto, El Mirage and Grey Butte; and the Southern California Logistics Airport near Victorville, all of which combine to create a busy hub of aerospace activity.
NASA Dryden's main complex is located on Edwards Air Force Base, about 35 miles northeast of the Palmdale facility. Aircraft operating from Dryden's Palmdale facility have access to the runways and dry lakebeds at Edwards, the restricted airspace of the R2508 and adjacent test ranges, and the largest overland supersonic flight test corridor in the country.
NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center is recognized as the nation's premier flight research and test organization for the validation of high-risk, pioneering aerospace technology and space exploration concepts, and for execution of science mission observations. The Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility at Palmdale will continue to meet these high standards. With easy access by road and air, a rapidly growing nearby community, skilled workforce and existing infrastructure, Dryden's Aircraft Operations Facility is poised to become one of Southern California's most active aviation-related business sites.