Head-on shot of NASA's SR-71A aircraft taxiing on the ramp at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, heat waves from its engines blurring the hangars in the background.. The Blackbirds were designed to cruise at Mach 3.2, just over three times the speed of sound or more than 2,200 miles per hour and at altitudes up to 85,000 feet. The extreme operating environment in which they flew made the aircraft excellent platforms for conducting research and experiments in a variety of disciplines aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, thermal protection materials, high-speed and high-temperature instrumentation, atmospheric studies, and sonic boom characterization. SR-71 activities at Dryden were part of NASA's overall high-speed aeronautical research program and involved other NASA research Centers, other government agencies, universities, and commercial firms. Data from the SR-71 research project will aid designers of future supersonic/hypersonic aircraft and propulsion systems. NASA photo dated 1995.
April 5th, 2016
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