Interior of custom radiant heater for Pegasus wing glove test in Dryden's Flight Loads Laboratory. 1996 A wide variety of thermal and structural tests have been conducted in the FLL. For example, a dedicated ground test version of the Pegasus Hypersonic Experiment (PHYSX) wing glove (to be flown on an air-launched space booster) was cooled and heated to simulate the thermal environment predicted for the booster's first stage of flight. The test started by cooling the test article to -30 deg. F, which represents the cold-soak temperature during release from the carrier aircraft at Mach 0.8 and an altitude of 38,000 ft. The heating profile then proceeded for 80 seconds to simulate conditions at first-stage burnout at Mach 8 with temperatures in excess of 500 deg.
A liquid nitrogen vaporization system provided cold gas for pre- and post-test cooling of the glove. Quartz lamp heaters attached to stainless steel reflectors provided heat for the first-stage flight simulation. The lamp spacing and reflectors were custom tailored to the glove geometry and various heat flux levels to be imposed on the glove. Open and closed-loop control methods were used to regulate the radiant heat lamps.
The experimental strain, temperature, and deflection data gathered during this test series was used to validate nonlinear structural models of the glove.