The SR-71 Blackbird
A second NASA effort in the 1990s employed several SR-71 aircraft as high-speed, high-altitude laboratories to conduct a variety of scientific experiments.
The first of a series of flights using the SR-71 as a science camera platform for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory was flown in March 1993.
The SR-71 was used in a program to study ways of reducing sonic booms or over pressures that are heard on the ground, much like sharp thunderclaps, when an aircraft exceeds the speed of sound.
During the 1990s two SR-71 Blackbird aircraft were used by NASA as testbeds for high-speed and high-altitude aeronautical research at Dryden. The aircraft included an SR-71A and SR-71B (the trainer version), loaned to NASA by the U.S. Air Force. Information from the LASRE experiment helped Lockheed Martin maximize its design for a future potential reusable launch vehicle. It gave Lockheed an understanding the performance of the X-33 lifting body and linear aerospike engine combination.
One of the first major experiments flown on the NASA SR-71 involved a laser air-data sensor