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Propulsion Systems Laboratory

The Propulsion Systems Laboratory (PSL) is NASA’s only ground-based test facility that provides true flight simulation for experimental research on air-breathing propulsion systems. The PSL has recently added the capability to simulate clouds of ice crystals and liquid water droplets.

Facility Overview

Ice Measurement Probes in Propulsion Systems Laboratory,
Ice Measurement Probes in Propulsion Systems Laboratory (PSL).

The Propulsion Systems Laboratory (PSL) complex provides world-class test and evaluation capabilities in support of NASA’s research and testing mission and charter. Built in the early 1970s, PSL has hosted a number of unique programs that have furthered engine research technologies.

Altitudes to 90,000 ft and Mach numbers to 3.0 in one cell and 6.0 in the other can be simulated continuously. Engine airflow is available to 480 lb/s at an inlet pressure of 55 psia or to 380 lb/s at 165 psia. Inlet temperature control is also available. Real-time display and post-test data reduction are available for all measured and calculated parameters.

The PSL is a highly versatile test facility developed to suit the one-of-a-kind testing common to NASA aeronautics research and testing programs. This versatility allows quick reaction to changes in program direction, as well as complete flexibility to pursue new goals that arise unexpectedly from ongoing experimental research.

Icing Spray Bar System
C2013-438: Power Systems Laboratory (PSL) Icing Spray Bar System with Model.

Unique concepts in altitude engine testing have been pioneered and perfected in the PSL, such as multiaxis thrust measurement, vectored and reverse exhaust gas collection, infrared imaging at altitude, aeroelastic measurements, transient pressure and/or temperature distortion simulation, and flight transient simulation. Recognizing innovation, other test organizations have asked to share PSL’s expertise.

Quick Facts

The Propulsion Systems Laboratory is NASA’s only ground-based test facility that can provide true flight simulation for experimental research on air-breathing propulsion systems. Altitudes to 90,000 ft and Mach numbers to 3.0 in one cell and 6.0 in the other can be simulated continuously.

Name Propulsion Systems Laboratory
Mach Number 0 – 3.0 (PSL-3)0 – 6.0 (PSL-4)
Test Section 38-ft long and 24-ft wide in diameter
Altitude 0 to 90,000 ft
Mass Flow Inlet air flow up to 480 lbs/sec
Exhaust air flow up to 750 lbs/sec

Capabilities

The Propulsion Systems Laboratory is NASA’s only ground-based test facility that can provide true flight simulation for experimental research on air-breathing propulsion systems.

Characteristics and Performance

Combustion Air System

Altitude Exhaust System

Support Systems

Data Acquisition

Salient characteristics specific to the PSL data acquisition system are:

Escort pressure data is acquired through digitally temperature compensated electronically scanned pressure scanners; known as NetScanners. The system consists of 16 port, rack mounted scanners with ranges from +/-15 PSID to +750 PSID, located outside the test chamber. Digital temperature compensation allows for long periods of time between calibrations while maintaining the overall system accuracy of +/-0.05% of range. Improved productivity is achieved since calibrations are not required during the test period.

Contact

Propulsion Systems Laboratory
Facility Manager: Thomas Hoffman
216-433-5637
EMail: Thomas.R.Hoffman@nasa.gov

Testing Division
21000 Brookpark Rd., MS 6-8
Cleveland, Ohio 44135
216-433-8301
William.P.Camperchioli@nasa.gov

If you are unsure about whom to contact about a specific facility question, please call our main number at 216-433-4000.

Using Our Facilities

NASA’s Glenn Research Center provides ground test facilities to industry, government, and academia. If you are considering testing in one of our facilities or would like further information about a specific facility or capability, please let us know.

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