The nation’s largest hypersonic blow-down test facility, the 8-Foot High Temperature Tunnel (8ft HTT) simulates true enthalpy at hypersonic flight conditions for testing advanced, large-scale, flight-weight aerothermal, structural, and propulsion concepts. Flight conditions that would be encountered by hypersonic vehicles in the atmosphere are duplicated with high accuracy in the 8ft HTT facility. Flow conditions are produced by burning methane, air, and liquid oxygen, then expanding the combustion products through any one of several nozzles into the test section, producing the test stream. Testing capability for Mach numbers of 3, 4, 5, and 7 are supported in this unique testing environment.
Very large scale structural or thermal protection system models (5×9 ft), hypersonic engine testing, and flight qualification testing is supported in the facility test section.
An experienced hypersonic test team is trained to handle numerous test support systems that are available to meet a wide variety of test requirements. Unlimited optical access for photography and video systems is provided.
The facility has been heavily used for testing engines such as the National Aerospace Plane (NASP) Concept Demonstration Engine, the Office of Naval Research HyFly Dual Combustor Ramjet, and the Air Force Research Laboratory SJX61-1 and SJX61-2 engines. It has supported different programs and agencies such as the Hyper-X Program, U.S. Missile Defense Agency, Japanese Defense Agency, NASA Next Generation Launch Transportation (NGLT) program, and NASA program for the Advancement of Inflatable Decelerators for Atmospheric Entry.