Suggested Searches

3 min read

About AETC Ground Facilities


AETC sets the strategic direction for NASA’s versatile and comprehensive portfolio of ground test aeronautics research capabilities. It continues to make targeted investments in its capabilities so that the nation’s aeronautics community has the tools to deliver the technology innovations and breakthroughs necessary to address the increasingly complex research and development challenges associated with safe and effective real-world flight.

Among these assets are subsonic, transonic, supersonic, and hypersonic wind tunnels and propulsion test facilities at Ames Research Center, Glenn Research Center, and Langley Research Center.

AETC’s integrated approach to asset planning, use, and management will consider the complementary high-end computing capabilities necessary for advanced analyses in conjunction with the ground experimentation capabilities. The project includes the NASA expertise that helps ensure safe and successful use of the assets and high quality of the research outcomes.

AETC also contains icing simulation (experimental and computational) and sensing development. These icing elements will enable next generation aircraft described above to safely operate in both airframe and engine icing weather conditions.

A National Partnership

AETC actively participates in the National Partnership for Aeronautical Testing (NPAT), a council co-chaired by NASA and the Department of Defense. The council’s charter is to develop an integrated strategy for the management of national aeronautics test capabilities and to enable national cooperation and coordination.

The NPAT initiative has led to an agreement on the guiding principles for facility pricing and access, the inventory and technical assessments of U.S. wind tunnels, the improved understanding and collaboration between operators and users from government and industry, and the establishment of a national force measurement technology capability.

Ground Facilities

Subsonic Facilities

Transonic Facilities

Supersonic Facilities

Hypersonic Facilities

Propulsion Facilities

Test Technology

The Aerosciences Evaluation and Test Capabilities (AETC) Portfolio implemented the Capability Challenge “Optical Instrumentation for Advanced Flowfield Measurements”. The animation shows four optical measurement techniques developed by the Aeosciences Evaluation and Test Capabilities Portfolio to help advance NASA’s new air and space vehicles by providing relevant, high quality data which cannot be obtained in any other way. Pressure-Sensitive Paint (PSP) uses a luminescent paint whose brightness measures air pressure, thus showing where lift and buffet occur. High Speed Shadowgraph records density fluctuations in the air just as the human eye sees heat shimmer, but with enough speed and sensitivity to register shock waves and turbulence. Infra-red (IR) thermography measures the small changes in temperature which occur when air travelling around a model transitions from low drag laminar flow to turbulent or stalled flow. Femtosecond Laser Electronic Excitation and Tagging (FLEET) uses a high power laser beam to “write” a line of luminescent nitrogen in the air, which can be tracked to measure flow velocity. Using these techniques, and more, NASA’s ground test facilities fulfill a critical role in the agency’s mission to explore air and space.
Credits: James Bell, Kimberly Scarberry, Jon Levy, Joshua Sams

Wind Tunnel Testing Guide




Last Updated
Jul 20, 2023
Lillian Gipson