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Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel
NASA Ames Research Center

Photo of Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel in the Past
Photograph of Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel Today

The Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel complex was nominated and accepted by the Department of Interior as a National Historic Landmark on October 3, 1985.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers dedicated in May 1996, the Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel complex as an International Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.

Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel facts:

  • Site Covers 11 Acres
  • Construction began in 1951 at a cost of $32 million
  • Integration of the basic design embodies three test sections for different speeds so that a single model can be tested over the entire speed range from Mach 0.40 to Mach 3.45
Image: Cover of Man in Space Study  
+ Download the study
(5 MB PDF File)

Dr. Harry A. Butowsky of the National Park Service (NPS) was charged with completing the National Historic Landmark Theme Study "Man in Space" in 1983, with the NPS accepting the National Historic Landmark nominations in 1984.

The study shows how the assets were divided into 12 categories:
A. Wind Tunnels (4)
B. Engine Development (3)
C. Rocket Engine Test Stands (3)
D. Rocket Test Facility (1)
E. Rocket (1)
F. Launch Pads (1)
G. Apollo Training Facilities (4)
H. Apollo Hardware Test Facility (1)
I. Unmanned Spacecraft Test Facilities (3)
J. Tracking Station (1)
K. Mission Control Centers (2)
L. Other Support Facility (1)

+ Download the agreement
(276 KB PDF File)

In 1989 NASA, the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), and the Advisory Council on HIstoric Preservation (ACHP) signed a programmatic agreement regarding designated national historic landmarks, including Ames Research Center's National Historic Landmark, the Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel complex.

(Source of cover image: National Park Service


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NASA Ames Research Center
Historic Preservation Office, MS 213-8
Moffett Field, California 94035-0001
Curator: Historic Preservation Office
NASA Official:
Keith Venter
Last Updated: December 2016