Tennessee plays an important role in the nation’s space program

A European Space agency probe that landed on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon on Jan. 14, 2005, was tested in the 16-foot transonic wind tunnel at the Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Center in 1993. The mission of the Huygens probe, named after Dutch astronomer Christian Huygens who discovered Titan in 1655, is to collect atmospheric data from Titan. The probe landed by parachute. The wind tunnel model of the probe was fitted with scaled main and pilot parachutes. The chutes were opened at speeds ranging from 350 to 1,000 mph in the wind tunnel while information was gathered on their inflation characteristics. The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Cassini Spacecraft carried the probe to the vicinity of Titan. The Huygens test model was designed and fabricated by Micro Craft Inc. in Tullahoma, Tenn., for the GE Aerospace Corp., which was under contract to the European Space Agency.

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