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FWD: [UASR] The SR-71 "Blackbird" Research Flights End For 1999

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  • Frits Westra
    Posted by : Mark A. LeCuyerSource: Dryden Flight Research Center September 29, 1999Leslie Mathews September 29, 1999 Dryden
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 30, 1999
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      Posted by : "Mark A. LeCuyer" <randydan@...>

      Source: Dryden Flight Research Center
      September 29, 1999

      Leslie Mathews
      September 29, 1999
      Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.
      (661) 258-3458

      RELEASE: 99-36

      The SR-71 "Blackbird" Research Flights End For 1999

      The 1999 four-flight series of the SR-71 "Blackbird" with a
      41-foot-long test fixture mounted atop of the rear section of the
      aircraft was completed on September 27 at NASA's Dryden Flight
      Research Center, Edwards, Calif. The flights showed that the fixture
      barely impacted the SR-71's stability, handling and flying
      characteristics while soaring at Mach 3, three times the speed of

      "It flew like a scalded cat," said the SR-71 Flight Test Engineer
      Marta Bohn-Meyer. She said the plane was unbelievable in how it pushed
      to go faster.

      The SR-71 stopped short of reaching one test point of going over Mach
      3 due to the failure of the liquid nitrogen system that was used to
      purge the test fixture. Without proper purge, there was concern of
      overheating the fixture's internal systems. This purge system has
      proven very effective in past flights, Tim Moes said, NASA Dryden's
      chief engineer for these research flights.

      He added that the cause of the purge system failure is now well
      understood and procedures will be instituted to prevent this failure
      in the future. Although the two-hour flight did not reach Mach 3.2,
      the combined four-flight series proved that the SR-71 is a viable
      testbed for future technologies that need a high-speed, high-altitude
      flight environment.

      Data obtained on the previous flight to Mach 3.0 can be confidently
      extrapolated to Mach 3.2. Unlike wind tunnels that are constrained
      by its walls, the SR-71 airplane flies in actual atmospheric
      conditions, such as moisture and temperatures, at extreme altitudes
      and speeds making it an ideal testbed for supersonic flight.

      NASA's Revolutionary Concepts (RevCon) project is one example of
      possible future use of the SR-71 as a testbed. The RevCon project
      encourages the development of ideas that could lead to revolutionary
      experimental planes.

      The Pulse Detonation Engine, one of the first RevCon projects, is a
      revolutionary approach for future high-speed jet propulsion. The
      engine will have fewer parts, yet greater propulsion efficiency,
      resulting in lower maintenance and direct operating costs. It will
      eventually be flown captive carry on Dryden's SR-71 "Blackbird" to
      speeds over Mach 3.


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