Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Edwards Air Force Base
Edwards Air Force Base is a base located on the border of Kern County and Los Angeles County, California in the Antelope Valley, northeast of Lancaster. It was home to many of the 20th century's most important and daring research flights and many of the world's bravest and most able pilots ever seen.
The base is named after test pilot Glen Edwards, who died while testing the Northrop YB-49. Prior to being named after Edwards in 1950, it was known as Muroc Army Air Field. In addition to the air force base, it is home to the United States Air Force Test Pilot School and NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center.
It is designated the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC), and is where much of the testing of new aircraft and airborne systems is done. One of the important physical features on the base is Rogers Lake, a dry lakebed that is sometimes used as a landing strip. The lakebed has a black dotted line painted on it to assist in landings.
Notable occurrences at Edwards include Chuck Yeager's famous flight where he broke the sound barrier in the Bell X-1, the first landings of the Space Shuttle, the 1986 around the world flight of the Scaled Composites Voyager, and origination of Murphy's law.
Dry lake beds
Edwards AFB is the home of the Rogers and Rosamond dry lake beds. These lake beds have served as emergency and scheduled landing sites for many aerospace projects including the Bell X-1, Lockheed U-2, SR-71 Blackbird, Space Shuttle, and continuing until today. Rogers, the largest of the two lake beds, encompasses 44 square miles (114 square kilometers) of desert and features 7 runways; the longest of these is 7.5 miles (12 km) long. Rogers also acts as an extension of the main 15,000 ft (4,600 m) runway offering an additional 9,000 ft (2,700 m) of emergency landing area. Because of Roger's history in the space program it was declared a national historic landmark.
The Rosamond dry lake bed encompasses 21 square miles (54 square km) and is also used for emergency landings and other flight research roles. Both lake beds are some of the lowest points in the Antelope Valley and they can collect large amounts of precipitation. One amazing fact of the dry lake beds is their overall flatness; the Rosamond lake bed was measured to have a deviation of 18 inches over a 30,000 ft (50 cm over 9,000 m) length.
Early in the Space Shuttle's history Edwards Air Force Base served as a testing ground. Enterprise was flown to altitude by the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (a modified Boeing 747) and dropped to determine its flight characteristics.
Edwards AFB also served as the primary landing area for the space shuttle until the later part of the shuttle program (currently Kennedy Space Center serves as the primary landing location while Edwards AFB remains a backup). This location was selected in part because the immense dry lake beds offer an extremely large landing area. The location was also close to Plant 42 where the shuttle was repaired and inspected then sent back to Kennedy Space Center for relaunch.
Edwards AFB is located at 34°55'18" North, 117°55'59" West (34.921701, -117.933043).
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 5,909 people, 1,678 households, and 1,515 families residing in the base. The population density is 132.9/km² (344.1/mi²). There are 1,783 housing units at an average density of 40.1/km² (103.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the base is 72.70% White, 10.42% Black or African American, 0.83% Native American, 4.35% Asian, 0.52% Pacific Islander, 5.43% from other races, and 5.74% from two or more races. 11.68% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 1,678 households out of which 67.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 84.9% are married couples living together, 3.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 9.7% are non-families. 9.1% of all households are made up of individuals and 0.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 3.19 and the average family size is 3.38.
In the base the population is spread out with 36.1% under the age of 18, 19.9% from 18 to 24, 42.1% from 25 to 44, 1.8% from 45 to 64, and 0.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 23 years. For every 100 females there are 121.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 130.4 males.
The median income for a household in the base is $36,915, and the median income for a family is $36,767. Males have a median income of $27,118 versus $23,536 for females. The per capita income for the base is $13,190. 1.3% of the population and 1.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 1.3% of those under the age of 18 and 0.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
- Gallery of photographs from Edwards Air Force Base
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