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Hypersonics
     

The Aerothermal/Aero-optic Evaluation Center (AAEC) at CUBRC® operates the LENS supersonic and hypersonic test facilities for ground testing of full-scale missiles up to 30 ft in length at fully duplicated flight conditions from Mach 3.5 to Mach 30. The LENS ground test capability consisting of the LENS I and LENS II reflected shock tunnels and the LENS X expansion tunnel, which have been constructed during the past 15 years, provide the world's most advanced facilities for high Reynolds number testing in hypervelocity flows. The LENS facilities have been used in the study of interceptors, scramjet and ramjet engine performance, dynamic booster stage and shroud separation, shuttle ascent and reentry, planetary reentry to Earth and Mars and other bodies in the solar system, jet and divert thruster interaction, plume interactions, and many other applications.

The design and operation of the LENS facilities, as well as the construction and instrumentation of the test articles employed in them, builds on more than 50 years experience in the design and operation of high enthalpy test facilities. However, an on-going focus of the AAEC is the calibration and validation of the test flows and the computational fluid dynamic codes that are employed in the operation of the facility and design of experimental programs. In support of this activity, CUBRC has also developed a suite of the most advanced aerothermal, aero-optical, spectrographic and laser-diode based intrusive and non-intrusive diagnostic instrumentation currently available.

The AAEC has developed an integrated approach to testing that couples the most advanced hypervelocity large-scale ground test facilities with the most modern CFD capabilities to more intelligently design, implement, validate and understand the ground test results in an efficient and effective manner, making LENS the premier facility for addressing America's requirements to design and test the next generation of supersonic and hypersonic vehicles.

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