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Facility 1244
2002 Aerial of Building 1244

Center: Langley Research Center
Location: Hampton, Virginia
Year Built: 1951
Historic Eligibility: Eligible for National Register
Important Tests: Gemini, Apollo, Jet Shoes

Back Arrow.jpg Back To Multimedia Back Arrow.jpg Also See East Area Hangars


[top] Tours

3D Model

[top] History

NASA Langley's newest hangar, the Flight Research Laboratory, was constructed in 1951. The building also housed meteorological equipment, navigational maps, a library.

The 1960s were a time of preparation for space exploration. Kennedy's speech to land man on the moon challenged the country and our center to reach the moon by 1969. Although virtually every building at LaRC was involved with some aspect of the mission, the hangar was a major center of activity.

The original Mercury Seven astronauts selected for the space program were Virgil 'Gus' Grissom, Scott Carpenter, Donald 'Deke' Slayton, Gordon Cooper, Alan Shepherd, Walter Shirra, and John Glenn. NASA Langley Test Pilot-Astronaut Robert Champine trained with all seven.

The most widely known improvement, the Rendezvous Docking Simulator, became operational in June 1963. This was followed by the Static Rendezvous Simulator, which included an inflatable planetarium and static Gemini cockpit, in 1964; and the permanent 40-foot diameter Projection Planetarium in 1965.

[top] Photos

[top] Building

[top] Old Timers

[top] Aircraft

[top] Films

The XF-88B Propeller Flight Research Program (Flight Tests on Supersonic Propellers)

1960 Preliminary Tethered Hovering Tests of the Doak VZ-4DA, Chrysler VZ-6C, and Short SC-1

Landing Practices of General Aviation Pilots

Making Flying Safer: Probing the New Frontier

Canadair CL-84


XC-142A Airplane

XC-142 Flights 3 & 4

XC-142 Flights Jan 29 - Feb 11, 1969]

XC-142 with MAGRA

XC-142 Takeoff, Landing, and Hover

LJ-4094 XC-142A V/STOL Flight 46

LJ-4094-XC-142A V/STOL Flight 52

LJ-8888 RSRA at Wallops

Rotor System Research Aircraft (RSRA)

[RSRA pilot ejection research

Langley Flight Experience with V/STOL 1944 - 1979. Reel #1, Reel #2

Winds 2-10 Knots

Curtiss-Wright X-100 VTOL Aircraft

XC-142 Smoke Test #1, Test #2, Test #3, Test #4

Flow Visualization Methods

Tow Line Model

Jack Reeder Compilation

SCW 180, Flight #2

Pilot in Command

[top] Programs

Advanced Transport Operating Systems (ATOPS)

[top] Interviews

Lee Person on His Career: July 21, 2010

[top] Documents

1965 Research Aircraft Operations Record

1966 Building Description

1966 Projection Planetarium

1966 Technical Facilities Resume for Projection Planetarium

1974 Real-Time Dynamic Simulator Fact Sheet

1990 Facility Resume

2005 Property Detail for Hangar Complex

[top] Additional Reading

The Smell of Kerosene: A Test Pilot's Odyssey. Donald L. Mallick with Peter W. Merlin. 2003. NASA SP-4108.

[top] Simulators

  • The Air Lubricated Free Attitude Trainer: This trainer allowed astronauts to practice controlling the pitch, yaw, and roll of their space craft using windows displaying Earth, the moon, and celestial bodies as references.
  • The Procedures Trainer, built by McDonnell, allowed the astronauts to practice controlling the attitude of the space craft (the pitch, roll, and yaw) while also experiencing space suit pressurization, noise, and heat.
  • The Environmental Control Simulator was placed in a decompression chamber, and astronauts would practice using the module controls in pressurized situations that were similar to the conditions they would experience during their trip to space and back.

[top] For Students and Teachers

NASA Langley Research Center hosted most training for the Mercury Astronauts. Most engineers and scientists who worked on Project Mercury were Langley employees and were available to train and work with the astronauts prior to their flights. Simulator training took place in the large hanger on the Langley Campus. The trainers were suspended from the hanger's ceiling and astronauts sitting in the trainers would maneuver the modules, simulating their future space experiences. The seven Mercury astronauts took graduate space science courses, learning about reentry from space, astronomy, and how to navigate using stars. A large tank, the hydrodynamic tank, was used to practice exiting the capsule. Once techniques were perfected in the tank, the astronauts took the capsule into the river behind the Center for practice in the elements.

More on Astronaut Training

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