NASA Langley Research Centre (LRC) on 17 July 2017 completed 100 years of its establishment. NASA's Langley changed forever the way astronauts fly, explore space and how they study Earth.
More than 40 high-tech wind tunnels and supporting infrastructure have been built over the years since its establishment and researchers use these facilities to develop many of the wing shapes still used today in airplane design.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Langley, NASA released a 45-minute documentary that looks back across the 100 years.
Contributions of NASA Langley Research Centre
• Under the direction of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the centre was established on 17 July 1917, just three months after the United States entered into World War I.
• Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory was instituted near Hampton, Virginia, as the nation’s first civilian facility focused on aeronautical research to solve the fundamental problems of flight.
• From the beginning, Langley engineers devised technologies for safer, higher and faster air travel.
• Better propellers, all-metal airplanes, new kinds of helicopters, faster-than-sound flight were among Langley’s many groundbreaking aeronautical advances.
• In times of peace and war, NASA Langley helped to create a better airplane with unique wing shapes, sturdier structures, the first engine cowlings that enabled the allies to win World War II.
• During World War II, Langley tested planes like the P-51 Mustang in the US first wind tunnel built for full-sized aircraft.
• Langley later partnered with the military on the Bell X-1, an experimental aircraft that would fly faster than the speed of sound.
• By 1958, NACA became NASA, and Langley’s accomplishments climbed from air into space.
• Over the past half century, LRC has contributed significantly to the development of rockets and the spacecraft and astronaut training of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs.
• Langley also led the unmanned Lunar Orbiter initiative, which not only mapped the Moon, but helped choose the spot for the first human landing.
• Development of a variety of satellite-borne instrumentation by Langley has enabled real-time monitoring of planet-wide atmospheric chemistry, air quality, ozone concentrations, the effects of clouds on climate and other conditions affecting Earth’s biosphere.
• With the Viking 1 landing in 1976, Langley led the first successful US mission to the surface of Mars.
• With an aim to help create environment-friendly aeronautical technologies, Langley research introduced concepts to reduce drag, weight, fuel consumption, emissions and lessen noise.
• Although NASA now has major centres and facilities around the country, Langley remains a world leader in aviation and aeronautics research.
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