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P-3D Orion

A Lockheed P-3D, Tail #N42R-F belonging to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and designated as a WP-3D, made three flights in early 1987 at the NASA Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility to test in-flight rain damage of the Shuttle thermal protection system.

DFRC Photo # Photo Date Image Description
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EC87-0035-03 February 4, 1987 P-3 aircraft parked on ramp
EC87-0035-001 February 4, 1987 Shuttle Tile Flight Test Fixture (FTF) on NOAA WP-3D Orion aircraft

Additional Information

The aircraft was equipped with raindrop-size-measuring instruments and cloud radars. Shuttle thermal protection 8 by 8 inch tiles were mounted on a pylon underneath the right wing of the aircraft. The WP-3D weather research aircraft obtained rain impact data for airspeeds between 180 and 260 knots indicated airspeed.

Test samples were mounted on two movable doors contained within both the left and right sides of the test fixture, for a total of four doors. These doors could be opened or closed in-flight to angles of 0, 15, 30, 45,or 60 degrees to the free-stream flow.

Last Modified: September 10, 1997
Responsible NASA Official: Marty Curry
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