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70 years of wonder at NASA Ames

Original post made on Dec 18, 2009

It's been 70 years since a small group of aeronautical researchers, with national defense in mind, took over part of Moffett Field. The resulting facility has been on the cutting edge of aeronautics research ever since.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, December 17, 2009, 2:12 PM

Comments (4)

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Posted by jay ravanell
a resident of Whisman Station
on Dec 18, 2009 at 4:34 am

iv'e been a resident of mt. view since 1981. my best friends dad retired from ames.the entire moffet field campus, from the wind tunnel, to the ominuos hangars 1,2,and 3,in my opinion, are what put mt. view on the map.the good folks at ames research center are the backbone of the space industry as we know it. the noise of the wind tunnel never bothered me. i remember when the p-3 subchasers flew over my house every 12 minutes (i timed them once). my hope is that ames , and the base, with the historical hangars, remains intact for many years to come.they are our history as a city. they are mountain view.

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Posted by Roxie
a resident of another community
on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:39 pm

I've lived within eye shot of Hangar One for 16+ years. The hangar is a cherished historical naval monument and it is my hope that it can remain so for years to come. List Jay R., I've also heard the wind tunnel for years but have never been bothered by it. After a while it just became white noise and a testament to the world class resources we have in our back yard.

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Posted by Special Agent CERT
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 19, 2009 at 8:58 am

For those wishing to read more about the history of NACA/NASA this is an excellent book online. I have read a few time over the years with my first read at 14 years old when I was given a well worn paper copy.
The War Years

Even though Langley and the NACA had contributed heavily to the progress of American aviation, there were still some in Congress who had never heard of them. Before World War II, a series of committee reports brought a dramatic change. During the late 1930s, John Jay Ide, who manned NACA's listening post in Europe, reported unusually strong commitments to aeronautical research in Italy and Germany, where no less than five research centers were under development. Germany's largest, located near Berlin, had a reported 2000 personnel at work, compared to Langley's 350 people. Although the Fascist powers were developing civil aircraft, it became apparent that military research absorbed the lion's share of work at the new centers. Under the circumstances, the NACA formed stronger alliances with military services in the United States for expansion of its own facilities.

In 1936, the agency put together a special committee on the relationship of NACA to National Defense in time of war, chaired by the Chief of the Army Air Corps, Major General Oscar Westover. Its report, released two years later, called for expanded facilities in the form of a new laboratory--an action underscored by Charles Lindbergh, who had just returned from an European tour warning that Germany clearly surpassed America in military aviation. A follow-up committee, chaired by Rear Admiral Arthur Cook, chief of the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics, recommended that the new facility should be located on the West Coast, where it could work closely with the growing aircraft industry in California and Washington. Following congressional debate, the NACA received money for expanded facilities at Langley (pacifying the Virginia Congressman who ran the House Appropriations Committee) along with a new laboratory at Moffett Field, south of San Francisco. The official authorization came in August 1939; only a few weeks later, German planes, tanks, and troops invaded Poland. World War II had begun.

Web Link
Orders of Magnitude
A History of the NACA and NASA, 1915-1990
by Roger E. Bilstein
The NASA History Series
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Office of Management Scientific and Technical Information Division
Washington, DC 1989

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Posted by Former NASA Ames employee
a resident of another community
on Dec 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm

I spent 10 years of my working life at Ames supporting the 40- by 80-/80- by 120-Foot Wind Tunnel complex. I learned so much and met some brilliant people.

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