NASA WB-57F

In 1968, NASA had contracted with the Air Force to operate an RB-57F, which flew many research missions as part of the Earth Resources Technology Satellite program. In 1972, the Air Force thought the expense was too high, and transferred the plane to NASA. This aircraft was re-numbered NASA 925. This plane operated until 1982, when it was retired. It currently resides in the Pima Air Museum in Tucson, Arizona.

When the 58th WRS high altitude program was cut in 1974, they also transferred NASA 926 to Houston. While this plane was out of service for some time due to budget considerations, it is still flying missions today, operating out of Ellington Field in Houston, Texas. More recently, NASA acquired another WB-57F, numbered NASA 928.

NASA 926 and NASA 928 are the only two WB-57s still flying in the world today although in 18 months time there will be 3 aircraft.  WB-57  serial number 63-13295 was removed from Davis Monthan AMARG ( 3
09th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group.) For  restoration in Colorado. It will be re-designated NASA 927 and flown to Texas when completed.
 
 

AIRBORNE REMOTE EARTH SENSING PROGRAM
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The WB-57 is a mid-wing, long-range aircraft capable of operation for extended periods of time from sea level to altitudes well in excess of 60,000 feet. Two crewmembers are positioned at separate tandem stations in the cockpit. The pilot station contains all the essential equipment for flying the aircraft. The sensor operator station contains both navigational equipment and controls for the operation of the payloads and payload support systems located throughout the aircraft. The WB-57 can remain aloft for approximately 6.5 hours, flying both day and night, so long as separation from hazardous weather can be maintained. With a range of 2,500 miles, the aircraft can be deployed to any continent.
 
Operating Altitude: Sea level to well above 60,000 feet
Maximum Flight Duration: Approximately 6.5 hours
 
   
Range: Approximately 2,500 miles
Maximum Gross Weight: 72,000 lbs
Maximum Payload Weight: 9,700 lbs (including empty weight of pallet, spear pods, & super pods)
Wing Surface Area: 2,000 square feet
Engine Thrust: 15,500 pounds per TF-33 engine
True Air Speed at 60,000+ feet: ~410 knots (Max Mach .78)
Max. Indicated Air Speed at 0 to 35,000 feet: 190 knots
Minimum Runway Dimensions: 7000 feet x 150 feet (sea level)
Maximum Crosswind Component: 15 knots
Air to Ground Communications: UHF, VHF, HF, and SAT phone
Payload Power Options:

 

115V 400Hz 3-Phase, 115V 60Hz 1- Phase and 28VDC
   

The WB-57 is capable of flying at altitudes well over 60,000 feet. Twelve miles high, the environment is very inhospitable to people. In fact, there is less than 1 psi of atmospheric pressure and temperatures will approach -70 F. For these reasons, flight rules mandate that for flight above 50,000 feet, all crewmembers must wear a full pressure suit. If the cabin were to depressurize, or the crew was forced to eject, it would be the only means of survival.

Above 10,000 feet, atmospheric pressure becomes low enough that without breathing 100% oxygen, the average person will become hypoxic (an oxygen deprived state) and can eventually lose consciousness. As altitude increases, the Time of Useful Consciousness (TUC) becomes shorter. The TUC at 60,000 feet is only 9 - 12 seconds
The TUC can be pushed much higher if 100% oxygen is breathed. At a height of 35,000 feet, the pressure is approximately 20% that of sea level, and since oxygen is approximately 20% of air, a person at this altitude breathing pure oxygen will receive a sea level equivalent amount of oxygen. At heights above 50,000 feet, even with 100% oxygen, a person will quickly become hypoxic, because the ambient pressure is so low that the lungs will not absorb the oxygen. It is at this altitude that a pressurized flight suit must be worn. Any altitude above 50,000 ft. is labelled as "space equivalent zone".
The pressure suit used on the WB-57 weighs 31 lbs and is very similar to the suit worn by space shuttle crewmembers during launch and entry. It is designed to pressurize only if cabin pressure is lost at an altitude above 35,000 feet. The suits have two back up systems in case the primary system fails. The secondary system will activate when at 37,000 feet. Both of these two systems will deactivate when the lower threshold is reached. There is also an emergency system that if activated at 39,000 feet will not depressurize until it is done manually
NASA JSC WB-57F 

   CSC  CREW MEMBER SUPPORT TAB

I HAVE THEM
WB-57 at RAF MILDENHALL
     
     
 
     
NASA WB-57
 

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