Project Fire - High-speed reentry heat research program - Republic Aviation

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The San Diego Air & Space Museum (SDASM) has recently posted on YouTube (circa ~1962-64) Republic Aviation silent B-roll footage of work performed on Project FIRE (Flight Investigation of Re-Entry). Project FIRE is described at Gunther's Space Page accordingly:

FIRE (Flight Investigation of Re-Entry) was a high-speed reentry heat research program to obtain data on materials, heating rates, and radio signal attenuation on spacecraft reentering the atmosphere at speeds of about 24,500 miles per hour. FIRE was a subscale model of the Apollo capsule used to verify the spacecraft's hypersonic flight and thermal characteristics. Data from the program would support technology for manned and unmanned reentry from lunar missions. Under the management of the Langley Research Center, Project FIRE would use an Atlas-D Antares-2 (Atlas D booster and the reentry package powered by an Antares solid-fuel motor). . . .

The US Air Force's Air Mobility Command also has a page (featuring a photo of the flight vehicle) touching on the program and the work performed by the 15th Air Transportation Squadron (MATS) in support of it.
315704main_Road2Apollo-03_full-1000x750.jpg

Project Fire explored the intense heat of atmospheric reentry and its effects on would-be spacecraft materials. Although the ultimate tests involved Atlas rockets carrying recoverable reentry packages, the flight tests from Cape Canaveral were preceded by a series of important wind-tunnel tests at Langley. Here, technicians ready materials for a high-temperature wind tunnel test. Credit: NASA

Here are the two videos of Project FIRE footage posted by SDASM:
YouTube - SDASM - HACL 01317 Lecture and Aerial View of Republic Aviation

YouTube - SDASM - HACL 01315 Republic Aviation B-Roll
 
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