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ARES Wind Tunnel Tests

ARES Scale model in the Langley Transonic Dynamics Tunnel
ARES Scale model in the Langley Transonic Dynamics Tunnel with former Langley
Research Center Director Roy Bridges and some members of the wind tunnel test team.



Our June, 2004 wind tunnel test series was designed to provide validation of our aerodynamic predictions of how ARES would fly on Mars. NASA Langley Research Center's Transonic Dynamics Tunnel is a special, variable pressure wind tunnel that allowed us to match the Mach number and Reynolds number that the airplane would see on Mars.

ARES scale model in wind tunnel This scale model is our latest to be tested in the Langley Research Center Transonic Dynamic Tunnel. This model has the wings and tail in their fully deployed positions.
ARES scale model in wind tunnel A scale model of the ARES mars airplane in the Langley 12-Foot Low Speed Wind Tunnel with the wings and tail completely folded. In this picture, the airplane is "up-side-down" with the nose pointed just to the left of the viewer and into the wind. The force of the wind will help ensure that the tail will open and lock reliably at Mars.
ARES scale model in wind tunnel The tail and wings of this model can be adjusted through the full range of opening angles to measure the static aerodynamic forces the airplane would experience during deployment.
ARES scale model in wind tunnel Here, the model is mounted "right-side-up" with the nose pointing to the left of the picture, which is into the wind. The tail has been moved into its completely deployed and locked position and the wings are still completely folded.
ARES scale model in wind tunnel This test measured the static aerodynamic forces on the starboard wing when it is partially deployed.
ARES scale model in wind tunnel This model configuration was used to measure the aerodynamic forces when both wings are partially deployed.


In 2002, wind tunnel tests evaluated wing deployment performance for a wide range of vehicle attitudes and aerodynamic conditions. These were dynamic tests in which the wings were released while the wind tunnel was running and allowed to swing into their deployed and locked positions.

Video frame showing wings deploying in wind tunnel This is a still-frame from a video of one of the dynamic wing deployment tests. In this test, the port wing (on the left of this image) was released first. You can watch a video of some of the tests from this series in the video section of our Multimedia page.


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