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Cover of AWT cd-drom.

The historic mitigation effort yielded several types of publications that document the history of the Altitude Wind Tunnel (AWT) and the Space Power Chambers (SPC). These included a narrative history, a website, documentary video, a Historic American Engineering Report, and exhibit posters.

Revolutionary Atmosphere (book)

Cover of AWT history book.

This scholarly look at the Altitude Wind Tunnel covers the transformations the wind tunnel made in its long history from a wind tunnel doing full-scale testing for wartime applications, to a vacuum chamber supporting NASA’s space exploration, and even a brief period as home to Mercury astronaut training. The book also addresses the attempts to resurrect the facility and its eventual decommissioning and demolition.

A Tunnel Through Time (video)

Cover of AWT documentary video.A Tunnel Through Time: The History of NASA’s Altitude Wind Tunnel by Robert S. Arrighi and James Polaczynski (NASA SP-2010-4609) tells the story of an important, but little-known, facility at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. This wind tunnel complex played a vital role in the U.S. development of jets, in the training of NASA’s first astronauts, and in NASA’s first missions beyond Earth orbit. Abe Silverstein’s career, which paralleled much of the AWT’s, is highlighted throughout. This video includes a wealth of newly discovered footage, animations demonstrating how the facilities worked, and 3-D imagery.

Historic American Engineering Report

Cover of AWT HAER report.Historic American Engineering Report (HAER) documentation of the AWT and SPC to be submitted by the National Park Service to the Library of Congress. The report details the physical history of the site, event history of the facility, contemporary facilities, and architectural and operational descriptions of the facilities and their support buildings. Includes numerous photographs, blueprints, and drawings.

Original AWT Website

Screen capture of AWT website.In 2009, the Glenn History Office created an extensive website to describe the AWT and SPC facility, its history, and related research. It included interactive multimedia components, an image gallery, timelines, and digital documents. The website was reorganized and converted into its current format in 2019. A PDF version of the original site is below.

Interactive History

Disc cover for AWT multimedia piece.This 2008 multimedia piece allowed one to interactively learn about the AWT facility and the research performed there. It included a chronological history of the AWT from its construction during World War II and the testing of early jet engines, through the Mercury and Centaur programs of the 1960s, and up to the final use of the building for the Microwave Systems Laboratory; photographic surveys of the facility in its wind tunnel, vacuum tank, and final configurations; a browsable gallery of over 200 captioned photographs and video clips; a 9-minute documentary on the AWT produced by NASA in 1961; and links to over 70 reports and publications related to AWT research and the history of the NACA and NASA.

As NASA moves away from the use of Flash, the portions of the multimedia piece have been converted and reorganized into the current AWT website. A PDF version of the Flash piece is below.A The CD-ROM version of the original AWT Interactive History was awarded the Society for History in the Federal Goverment’s 2009 John Wesley Powell Award.

Exhibit Posters

Centaur lowered into SPC

Full-size exhibit displays were created for both the AWT and SPC. The displays featured images of the facility and the research performed there.

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