Aviation - Avions NASA-Prototypes
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The X-1E research aircraft provides a striking view at the entrance of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California. The X-1E, one of the three original X-1 aircraft modified with a raised cockpit canopy and an ejection seat, was flown at the facility between 1953 and 1958 to investigate speeds at twice that of sound, and also to evaluate a thin wing designed for high-speed flight. The Dryden complex was originally established in 1946 as a small high-speed flight station to support the X-1 program. The X-1 was the first aircraft to fly at supersonic speeds. The main administrative building is to the rear of the X-1E and is the center of a research installation that has grown to more than 450 government employees and nearly 400 civilian contractors. Located on the northwest ''shore'' of Rogers Dry Lake, the Dryden Center was built around the original administrative-hangar building constructed in 1954 at a cost of $3.8 million. Since then many additional support and operational facilities have been built including a number of unique test facilities such as the Thermalstructures Research Facility, Flow Visualization Facility, and the newest addition, the Integrated Test Facility.