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We Test Like We Fly

NASA’s Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland and the Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky, Ohio, house ground test facilities where scientists and engineers develop and verify cutting-edge aerospace technologies. These world-class test facilities support private industry, government, and academia.

Using our Facilities about We Test Like We Fly
X-59 model inside the 8x6 supersonic wind tunnel.

Wind Tunnels

NASA Glenn’s wind tunnels vary in size and wind speed and are used to test aircraft components and engines, scale aircraft models, and space launch vehicles to better understand how air moves through and around them.

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Glenn engineer Christine Pastor is showing an unpacked flexible canopy in NASA Glenn's 10x10 Supersonic Wind Tunnel.
Glenn engineer Christine Pastor-Barsi is showing an unpacked flexible canopy beside its packed counterpart in NASA Glenn’s 10×10 Supersonic Wind Tunnel.
Credits: NASA

Icing Research

Most ice protection technologies used on airplanes today were largely developed in NASA Glenn’s Icing Research Tunnel. The tunnel provides fundamental research for aeronautics by simulating the growth of ice on aircraft surfaces.

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An airframe model is mounted vertically inside the Icing research tunnel. The test section of the tunnel is an enclosed corridor with large, square observation windows lining the walls.  The airframe has layers of ice covering its surface. A NASA researcher stands next the airframe. He is facing the camera with his arms crossed and wears glasses, jeans, and a hoodie. The photo is a black and white image.

Microgravity Research

The world’s longest low gravity drop tower is also located at Lewis Field. The Zero Gravity Research Facility is 28-feet in diameter and extends 500 feet into the ground. It allows test articles to experience weightlessness for five seconds. The facility is used to conduct fundamental studies in areas including material science, fluid physics, and combustion.

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Technician at bottom of deep shaft with a metal canister attached to a crane.
After dropping 450 feet to the floor of the Zero Gravity Facility’s vacuum chamber floor, a drop vehicle is attached to a crane and lifted back to the top for recovery and examination.
Credits: NASA

Vacuum Chambers

Lewis Field houses 24 chambers to simulate the vacuum of space and test everything from small components to large spacecraft hardware. NASA Glenn is the lead center for the agency’s electric propulsion efforts.

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A view inside a space vacuum chamber. The interior of the chamber resembles a large metal cylinder with silver, rectangular, panels lining the walls and ceiling. The interior of the chamber is illuminated by blue lights. Test hardware is mounted in the center of the chamber on a structure that resembles scaffolding.

Lunar and Planetary Surface Simulation

NASA Glenn has unique laboratories, including one designed to mimic the surface of the Moon and Mars and test rover tires.

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A test version of the VIPER rover is seen inside a large bin of lunar simulant. The bin and its contents resemble a large sandbox. A NASA engineer stands inside the bin with an arm stretch above her head. She wears a white protective respiratory hood.
NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) prototype is tested in the Simulated Lunar Operations (SLOPE) Laboratory at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.
Credits: NASA

Research Aircraft

Our flight research aircraft are used to conduct scientific research and essential experiments that support both space exploration and aeronautics.

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PC-12 Aircraft is seen on the runway outside of NASA Glenn's aircraft hangar.

Neil Armstrong Test Facility

Located on 6,700 acres in Sandusky, Ohio, it is home to some of the world’s largest and most capable space simulation test facilities, where ground tests are conducted for the U.S. and international space and aeronautics communities. 

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Aerial View of the Space Environments Complex at Neil A. Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky
Aerial view of the Space Environments Complex at NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky, Ohio.
Credits: NASA