From 1993 to 1995, in conjunction with other NASA centers, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, used a Convair CV-990 airplane as a Landing Systems Research Aircraft (LSRA) to perform Space Shuttle tire tests. The results provided the Space Shuttle Program with data to support its flight rules and enabled it to resurface a grooved runway at Kennedy Space Center that added unnecessary wear to the Space Shuttle tires.
Space, Airplanes - Civilian - Static Display - Large jets
Tests were done using a unique fixture mounted in the center of the CV-990 fuselage, between the main landing gear. Landing gear systems from other aircraft could be attached to the test fixture, which lowered them to the runway surface during actual landings. The LSRA had the ability to reproduce the loads and speeds of the other aircraft, as well as simulate crosswind landing conditions in a safe, controlled environment.
Links: www.dfrc.nasa.gov, www.airliners.net