NASA's research centre at Edwards Air Force Base, Rosamund, California. Experimental aircraft have been flown there since the late 1940s. NASA's first flight of the rocket-powered X-15 aircraft took place in March 1960. The prototype for the space shuttle was first tested in 1977, and the first space shuttle, Columbia, landed at Edwards in April 1981. Dryden also developed NASA's prototype crew return vehicle, the X-38, which was cancelled in 2001. The X-43A hypersonic research aircraft, a joint project of Dryden, NASA's Langley Research Center, and industry partners, broke the aeronautical speed record on 27 March 2004, flying at over Mach 7, or about 8 000 kph.
The centre was dedicated in 1976 to Hugh Dryden, a former deputy director of NASA who established the first facility at Edwards.
http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/ News releases and project information from the Dryden Flight Research Center. The Center's education page has downloadable documents explaining how flight tests are carried out and describing flight testing manoeuvres. The gallery contains videos, graphics, and photographs of experimental aircraft and links to other NASA image galleries and aircraft image archives.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.