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For Release: Dec. 16, 1997

Michael Finneran
(757) 864-6121

RELEASE NO. 97-133

News Media Invited To Dec. 18 Event
LARGEST WIND TUNNEL MOTOR OF ITS KIND IN THE WORLD GOES ON LINE

NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., will hold a ceremony Thursday, Dec. 18, at 11:30 a.m., to mark the installation of the world's largest adjustable-speed drive system in a wind tunnel.

The new fan drive motor in the National Transonic Facility (NTF) develops 135,000 horsepower, turning fan blades to produce wind speeds up to 1.2 times the speed of sound (approximately 900 mph). The new motor is part of the $23 million drive system built by Asea Brown Boveri in Switzerland, and installed by Raytheon Constructors, Inc.

It replaces an aging system that included three smaller motors, two gearboxes and other equipment. The previous system could provide 130,000 horsepower to the wind tunnel, but only for about 10 minutes, at one speed. The new motor develops the higher horsepower continuously through a speed range of 360 to 600 rpm.

The new system is expected to improve the productivity of the wind tunnel by increasing the tunnel's operating envelope, reducing the time to reach a test point, and simplifying the drive system complexity.

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