Set in the field of Sandusky, Ohio is the NASA Space Power Facility. On the site is a 122 foot high vaccum chamber designed to simulate the conditions found in space. NASA usually sends spacecraft to Sandusky to to test aircrafts before they’re used in space missions.
In the year 2014, NASA plans to lauch a new vehicle designed specifically for missions involving humans. The Orion will generate tons of radio and radar frequencies in order to operate but the question is whether or not the electromagnetic waves in space will cause the system to malfunction.
As such, NASA has plans to make serious upgrades to the spaceship “torture chamber.” The chamber, currently 50 feet below the surface of the ground, features a 2,500 ton concrete platform complete with steel rods anchoring it to the bedrock. When the Orion arrives it will be pounded with strong vibrations created by hydraulic machines for more than 45 minutes. In another chamber the Orion will be blasted by nitrogen-powered horns designed to imitate the noise generated when an aircraft reaches space.
The upgrades will, of course, result in some concerns. The largest is that the tests run on the Orion will generate quite a bit of noise. In order to soundproof the testing chambers NASA planst to build a 2 foot thick concrete door to keep the neighbors from complaining.
They hope to complete renovations by 2012 so that they can test the Orion before its first scheduled launch in 2014.