The 11- by 11-Foot Transonic Wind Tunnel (11-Foot TWT) Facility is part of the Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel (UPWT) complex at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California, where generations of commercial and military aircraft and NASA space vehicles, including the space shuttle, have been designed and tested.
The 11-Foot TWT is a closed-return, variable-density tunnel with a fixed-geometry, ventilated test section with a flexible wall nozzle. It is one of three separate test sections powered by a common drive system. A three-stage, axial-flow compressor powered by four wound-rotor, variable-speed induction motors, produces airflow. Interchangeability of models among the UPWT test sections allows testing across a wide range of conditions.
The 11-Foot TWT has been instrumental in the development of virtually every domestically produced commercial transport and military fixed-wing airframe since the 1960s. The facility is used extensively for airframe testing and aerodynamic studies and has played a vital role in every manned space flight program, including NASA’s new Orion space capsule, on which astronauts will fly to the International Space Station, the Moon, and beyond.