Point of Contact

Dr. Christian Gelzer (Tybrin Corp.)
Chief Historian
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center
(661) 276-5290

2010 - Present Dryden Milestones

The antenna housing of the MCoRDS instrument being used during the 2012 Operation IceBridge mission over Antarctica projects underneath the rear fuselage of NASA's DC-8 airborne science laboratory.

NASA's DC-8 Resumes Operation Icebridge Flights

Scientists and flight crew with NASA's Operation IceBridge mission began another Antarctic campaign this month to study Earth's changing polar ice.

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NASA Airborne Science ER-2 aircraft is carrying the TWiLiTE and NAST-I sensors on engineering and science flights.

NASA's ER-2 Checks Out Atmospheric Science Sensors

An ER-2 is conducting engineering evaluations of and collecting science data with TWiLiTE and NAST-I atmospheric sensors.

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NASA's two Global Hawks – one configured as a tanker and the other as a receiver – fly in trail formation during the DARPA-Northrop Grumman autonomous UAV-to-UAV aerial refueling research project.

NASA Global Hawks Aid UAV-to-UAV Refueling Project

NASA's two Global Hawk aircraft, one outfitted as a receiver and the other as a tanker, validate UAV-to-UAV autonomous aerial refueling technology.

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The space shuttle Endeavour and its 747 carrier aircraft soar off the California coast near Ventura as its heads to the Los Angeles area during the final portion of its tour of California Sept. 21.

Space Shuttle Endeavour Comes Home to Los Angeles

Space shuttle Endeavour atop its 747 carrier aircraft landed at Los Angeles International Airport after a tour of California to end its flight career.

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A NASA Global Hawk lands at the agency's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia Sept. 7 following an overnight mission from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California. Tropical Storm Leslie in the Atlantic Ocean was the first storm imaged from the Global Hawk as part of the multi-year Hurricane

NASA's Global Hawk Mission Begins Hurricane Study

NASA began its latest hurricane science mission, dubbed HS3, when an unmanned NASA Global Hawk flew over Tropical Storm Leslie in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Two space shuttle solid rocket booster casings arrived at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center Aug. 29 after a transcontinental trip from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Solid Rocket Boosters Arrive at Dryden for Storage

Two solid rocket booster casings for space shuttle Endeavour exhibit to be stored at NASA Dryden pending transfer to California Science Center

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The remotely operated X-48C Blended Wing Body aircraft lifts off Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on its first test flight Aug. 7.

Transformed X-48C Takes to the Air on First Flight

The sub-scale NASA-Boeing X-48C Blended Wing Body technology demonstrator begins flight tests of modified low-noise configuration.

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Boeing's unique autonomous unmanned Phantom Eye prototype taking off on it s first flight from Edwards AFB on June 1, 2012.

Boeing's Phantom Eye Prototype Makes First Flight

Unique autonomous unmanned aircraft system completes 28-minute flight June 1 at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base.

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The convergence of two glaciers near Thule, Greenland can be seen in this photo from the cockpit of NASA's ER-2 Earth Resources aircraft during a MABEL laser altimeter validation flight.

NASA's ER-2 Completes MABEL Validation Deployment

The weather, the aircraft and the science instruments cooperated to successfully validate data from the MABEL laser altimeter planned for IceSat-2.

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image of the planetary nebula Minkowski 2-9

SOFIA Captures Images Of Planetary Nebula M2-9

Researchers using NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy capture infrared images of the last exhalations of a dying sun-like star.

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This ground-level photo of the Halemaumau Crater of the Kilauea volcano was taken by a member of the NASA JPL / Dryden research team during a day off from the radar imaging missions.

NASA's G-III Completes Hawaiian Volcano Study

NASA’s G-III research aircraft has completed a week-long airborne radar study to aid understanding of processes occurring under the Kilauea volcano.

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This mid-infrared image of the W3A star cluster in the inset was captured by the FORCAST camera on the SOFIA flying observatory in 2011.

SOFIA Captures New W3A Star Cluster Images

NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy researchers have captured new images of a recently born cluster of massive stars named W3A.

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Historical Milestones @ Dryden

2000's - Aeronautics, Space Exploration, and Science

The second X-43A hypersonic research vehicle, mounted under the right wing of the B-52B launch aircraft, viewed from the B-52 cockpit. The crew is working on closing out the research vehicle, preparing it for flight.

While the aeronautics projects were reduced during this decade, DFRC became enveloped in the burgeoning Airborne Science missions with the DC-8, ER-2, and SOFIA. Space Exploration also saw an upturn ...

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1990s - Regaining Center Status and the Resurgence of ...

The X-31 aircraft on a research mission from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA, is flying nearly perpendicular to the flight path while performing the Herbst maneuver.

DFRC returns to full Center status and incorporates research facilities, research engineering, flight operations, aerospace projects, and intercenter aircraft operations. Aircraft projects during ...

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1980s - Consolidation and Survival

The Space Shuttle Columbia glides down over Rogers Dry Lake as it heads for a landing at Edwards Air Force Base at the conclusion of its first orbital mission on April 14, 1981.

Congressional budget cuts lead to DFRC losing its Center status and becoming a NASA facility controlled by Ames Research Center. Still considered experimental vehicles, the space shuttles began ...

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1970s - Aeronautics Research Broadened

Gary Krier was an aerospace research pilot and engineer at Dryden.

The aeronautical disciplines studied during this time included the supercritical wing; digital fly-by-wire; lifting bodies; and high-speed, high-altitude flight. The Center was renamed the Dryden ...

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1960s - Lifting Bodies, and Supersonic and Hypersonic ...

Air Force pilot William J. -Pete- Knight is seen here in front of the X-15A-2.

This decade saw the beginning and end of the highly successful X-15 program as well as the channeling of significant resources toward the Gemini and Apollo missions. The NASA Flight Research Center ...

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1950s - Autonomy, X-planes

Scott Crossfield in cockpit of the Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket after first Mach 2 flight.

The High-Speed Flight Research Station became a fully functional research facility, maintaining alliances with Langley but working autonomously. The completion of the new facility also meant a name ...

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1940s - From Humble Beginnings

XS-1 on the ramp with the B-29 mothership in 1949. This is the second XS-1 built; it later was converted into the X-1E.

A small, hardy team of determined engineers and technicians, led by Walter C. Williams, traveled from the NACA’s Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory (now Langley Research Center) in Hampton, VA ...

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  • G-III Gulfstream banking over California desert

    Dryden Photo Gallery  →

    A collection of digitized photos containing many of the unique research aircraft flown at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center from the 1940s to the present.

  • AAW on display inside of hangar

    Dryden Movie Gallery  →

    A collection of QuickTime movies documenting flight research and special events conducted at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center from the 1940s to the present.

  • F-18 Systems Research Aircraft

    Dryden Graphics Gallery  →

    Digitized drawings, graphics and line art of many of the unique research aircraft flown at NASA Dryden from the 1940s to the present.

  • Screen shot of the interactive overview of experimental aircraft flown at Dryden Flight Research Center.

    X-Planes Overview (Flash)

    An interactive overview of the experimental X-Planes flown at Dryden Flight Research Center over the last several decades.

  • X-15

    X-15 Interactive Feature

    The sensational, iconic, and groundbreaking X-15 hypersonic research aircraft extended flight to the edge of space during the 1950s and 1960s.