Engineers at the lab began planning in 1947 for a new facility that combined the test cell concept of the Four Burner Area with the massive infrastructure of the AWT. It would be part of a comprehensive plan to improve the altitude testing capabilities across the lab by linking the exhaust, refrigeration, and combustion air systems from all the major test facilities. In this way, different facilities could be used to complement the capabilities of one another. Ten million dollars were allocated for the new PSL chambers. Within five months, veteran engineer Eugene Wasielewski converted the recommendations of the lab’s Research Facilities Panel into design specifications. The Burns and Roe Company worked closely with the NACA engineers to create the master drawings from these specifications.
The overall concept of PSL was relatively simple, but integrating the massive systems and having them perform at the desired levels was very complicated. The facility consisted of two test chambers, exhaust gas coolers, an equipment building to house the exhausters and compressors, an access building, cooling tower, pump house, and an office building. It also included a compressed air system that supplied combustion air, an altitude exhaust gas system, research equipment installations, a cooling water system, electrical power system, as well as basic utilities, an intercommunication system, control rooms, roads, and a fire protection system.
Preliminary Proposal for PSL (1948) (PDF, 4.97MB)
Wasielewski Retirement Article (1956) (PDF, 320KB)
Aerial View of PSL