NASA Meatball The First Century of Flight: NACA/NASA Contribution to Aeronautics blank graphic 2000–03 space shuttles image
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1980 subheader
STS-1 Space Shuttle Picture

1981—STS-1, first flight of the Space Shuttle, a partially reusable space vehicle. First flown aerodynamic winged vehicle to reenter from space, employing technologies developed over 30 years.

ER-2 Aircraft Picture

1981–Ongoing—ER-2 high-altitude aircraft is used for atmospheric research, observation, and mapping.

X-29 Aircarft Picture

1981–1990—X-29 Flight Research Aircraft demonstrated forward swept wing technology and provided data on aeroelastic tailoring, active controls, and canard effects. First flight was December 14, 1984.

Riblets Aircarft Picture

1984—“Riblets,” or small V-shaped grooves, were discovered to reduce aerodynamic drag. This technology has been used on many aircraft and sailing vessels.



National Transonic Facility Picture

1984—National Transonic Facility (NTF) became operational. It enables experimentation at full-scale flight Reynolds number by testing in super-cold (cryogenic) environment.



Flight F-111, ATFI Picture

1985–1989—Mission Adaptive Wing (MAW) was tested on flight F-111 ATFI. The wing of the F-111 was modified so that the curvature of the leading and trailing edges could be varied in flight.

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Updated October 28, 2002
Steve Garber, NASA History Web Curator
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