The Warm Glow of Mach 3
This image from 1971 (!), the YF-12 forebody’s radiant heating system is being tested under conditions experienced at Mach 3, or three times the speed of sound, over 2,000 miles an hour.
The Flight Loads Laboratory at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center is celebrating 50 years. It sprang into existence during the era of the X-15 rocket plane and the YF-12 and SR-71 Blackbirds, and was dedicated to testing the latest in high-speed flight.
Eventually the entire airframe was tested in the lab, always with the goal to collect data, validate parts and reduce risk to the aircraft and the pilots who flew them.
Image credit: NASA