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NASA Meatball NASA Dryden F-15A RPRV/SRV Research banner


DFRC Movie # Movie Date Movie Description
EM-0078-04 June 10, 2013 NASA Flight Tests Explore Supersonic Laminar Airflow
EM-0078-03 February 2005 Lifting Insulating Foam Trajectory (LIFT) flight test closeup.
EM-0078-02 February 2005 Lifting Insulating Foam Trajectory (LIFT) flight test.
EM-0078-01 August 21, 2001 F-15B transonic flight research testbed aircraft aircraft in flight.

The mission of the F-15B Research Testbed is to provide NASA, industry, and universities with the long-term capability for the efficient flight test of aerodynamic, instrumentation, propulsion, and other flight research experiments. Since 1994, the F-15B Research Testbed has flown several flight experiments every year. These experiments have ranged from the development of specialized flight test techniques to durability studies of thermal protection systems for space vehicles such as the Shuttle and X-33.

Before the Space Shuttle can safely return to flight, engineers need data on how insulating foam debris or "divots" behave when these small pieces are shed from the Shuttle's external fuel tank during launch. NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center conducted a series of flight tests of the divots as part of the Return to Flight team effort. The Lifting Insulating Foam Trajectory (LIFT) flight test series at Dryden used the center's F-15B Research Testbed aircraft to test these "divots" in a real flight environment at speeds up to about Mach 2, or twice the speed of sound.

The aircraft is capable of flying more than twice the speed of sound. The F-15 is 63.75 feet long and has a wingspan of 42.83 feet. This NASA F-15 was extensively modified for research activities and did not carry any armament.

Last Modified: June 11, 2013
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