Michael Mewhinney
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Duane Hyland
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

August 25, 2009
RELEASE : 09-107AR
NASA Ames Designated 2009 AIAA Historic Aerospace Site
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. – In recognition of 70 years of pioneering aerospace research and its significant contributions to aerospace history, NASA Ames Research Center today was honored as a 2009 Historic Aerospace Site by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

Since its founding in 1939, Ames has made substantial strides in aerospace research.

Ames pioneered the technology behind all reentry vehicles, starting with the blunt body concept. Ames developed simulation facilities, such as arc jets and ballistic ranges, designed thermal protection systems for manned spacecraft, and engineered probes that blazed into the atmospheres of Venus and Jupiter.

"To be designated as an AIAA Historic Aerospace Site is indeed an honor for Ames and for NASA," said S. Pete Worden, director of NASA Ames. "Since its inception, this center has played a vital role in aeronautics and space research and it's very gratifying that this legacy is being recognized by the premier aerospace organization in the country," Worden added.

NASA Ames will celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding on Dec. 20, 2009.

"From its design of a revolutionary wing deicing system for aircraft in the 1940's to the development of modern-day spacecraft, NASA's Ames Research Center, and its creative, hard-working staff of engineers and scientists, has played a pivotal role in America's aerospace history, making atmospheric flight and space exploration possible," said David Thompson of Orbital Science Corp., and president of the AIAA. "In recognition of that legacy, AIAA is pleased to designate the center as an 'AIAA Historic Aerospace Site.' "

Ames Aeronautical Laboratory was established in 1939 as the second laboratory of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. Ames achieved early fame in wind tunnel design and testing, flight testing, and supersonic and hypersonic aerodynamics. In 1958, Ames became a founding part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The center conducted pioneering research in rotorcraft and vertical flight aircraft, spacecraft engineering, supercomputing and information technology, air traffic control, thermal protection for re-entry vehicles, astrobiology and space life sciences, and Earth and planetary sciences.

In addition, NASA Ames led the development of simulators for human factors research, and has made major improvements to air traffic management. In space exploration, NASA Ames engineered the Pioneer series of high-impact robotic explorers and other small satellites, launched the discipline of astrobiology, led space sciences research in planetary atmospheres, conducted fundamental research in the space life sciences and designed and operated airborne science platforms.

A non-profit technical society, AIAA advances the state of aerospace science, engineering and technological leadership. Headquartered in suburban Washington, D.C., the institute serves more than 36,000 members in 65 regional sections and 80 countries. AIAA membership is drawn from all levels of industry, academia, private research organizations and government.

For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

To learn more about the AIAA, visit:


- end -

text-only version of this release

To receive Ames news releases via e-mail, send an e-mail with the word "subscribe" in the subject line to To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to the same address with "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

NASA Image Policies