NASA Space Power Facility

October 5, 2020

NASA Space Power Facility


Stephanie Sobieski |

Originally constructed as a nuclear decommissioning site, the Space Power Facility (SPF) is a NASA facility used to test spaceflight hardware under simulated launch and spaceflight conditions. The SPF is part of NASA’s Plum Brook Station, which is part of the Glenn Research Center. The Plum Brook Station and the SPF are located near Sandusky, Ohio.

The SPF can simulate a spacecraft’s launch environment, as well as in-space environments. NASA has developed these capabilities under one roof to optimize testing of spaceflight hardware while minimizing transportation issues. Space Power Facility has become a “One Stop Shop” to qualify flight hardware for human-crewed space flight. This facility houses three record-setting test devices:

  • Worlds largest vacuum chamber
  • Worlds largest vibration table
  • Worlds loudest room

PMC was brought in to laser scan and create high accuracy 3D models of the Mechanical Vibration Test Facility (MVF). The MVF is designed to simulate the vibration forces spacecraft endure when passing through the atmosphere. The 16 vertical actuators of the MVF allow for testing of up to a 75,000 lb (34,000 kg) article. The entire SPF facility supports the testing of substantial pieces of spacecraft. The MVF, in particular, must have custom scaffolding developed to prevent uncontrolled tipping of the test articles.

The goal of scanning and modeling was to virtually plan the assembly of fall arrest scaffolding for future vehicle vibration tests.



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