NACA Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory
|Center:||Langley Research Center|
|Historic Eligibility:||National Register Eligible|
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Building 587 was the very first building built by NACA in 1917. It was known as the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory and served as NACA's Headquarters. The building was transferred by NASA to the Air Force in 1977 and has undergone fairly major renovations to include several additions to either side of the original building. Over the front entrance remains the original "NACA" limestone embossed sign and the words "Research Laboratory".
The brass plaque is located on the right side of the front entrance to the building and reads:
"The First Aeronautical Research Laboratory of the US Government Erected in 1918 for the NACA (incorporated in 1958 in the NASA), this research laboratory building represents the start of America's drive to attain aerospace superiority through "the scientific study of the problems of flight with a view to their practical solution."
Dedicated with NACA's first wind tunnel on June 11, 1920, this facility was a focal center of national aerospace research and technology advancement for almost 60 years. It served as the headquarters of the NACA/NASA Langley Research Center until 1956. It was the technical management center for the nation's X-2, X-2, X-3, D-558 I, D-558 II, and X-15 Transonic, Supersonic, and Hypersonic Research Airplane Programs from 1945 to 1956, and between 1958 and 1962 was the home of America's first Man-In-Space- Program-- Project Mercury-- and the birthplace of Projects Gemini and Apollo. These halls have echoed the voices of many great aerospace pioneers and the triumphs of advanced flight concepts, technology, and demonstrations that paved the way for United States leadership in aeronautics and space."
The official timepiece for the laboratory was a chronometer purchased on April 15, 1919 for the sum of $175. The clock still runs and is on display in the director's office. A plaque identifies the item "as the standard for the official time of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in the conduct of all its research and business."
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J. Lankes, NACA 1946