Some of North Star BlueScope Steel members of The Association of Women in the Metal Industries (AWMI) recently toured NASA in Sandusky, Ohio. Events like this promote development and networking for women in the metal industry. A member of the Cleveland AWMI chapter, Nicole Smith, is a project manager at NASA and was our tour guide for the day. The facility was not operating the day we were there so we were able to walk right into the Space Simulation Vacuum Chamber, get a bird’s eye view of the Mechanical Vibration Facility and have our picture taken in front of the Reverberant Acoustic Test Facility!
Plum Brook Station is a remote test facility for the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Located on 6,400 acres in the Lake Erie community of Sandusky, Plum Brook is home to three world-class test facilities, which perform complex and innovative ground tests for the international space community. It is integral in testing many spacecraft to qualify them for safe flight, including NASA’s Orion spacecraft and those other commercial spacecraft providers.
The Space Power Facility (SPF) houses the world’s largest and most powerful space environment simulation facilities including the Space Simulation Vacuum Chamber measuring 100 ft. in diameter by 122 ft. high. The Reverberant Acoustic Test Facility is the world's most powerful spacecraft acoustic test chamber, which can simulate the noise of a spacecraft launch up to 166 decibels or as loud as the thrust of 20 jet engines. The Mechanical Vibration Facility is the world's highest capacity and most powerful spacecraft shaker system, subjecting test articles to the rigorous conditions of launch.
In-Space Propulsion Facility (ISP) is the world's only facility capable of testing full-scale, upper-stage launch vehicles and rocket engines under simulated high-altitude conditions. The engine or vehicle can be exposed for indefinite periods to low ambient pressures, low-background temperatures and dynamic solar heating to simulate the environment of orbital or interplanetary travel.
As a conclusion it was a very enriching tour. We saw things we have never seen before and probably will never see again and we continue to make connections in the metal industry for further growth opportunities. In the near future we are looking forward to hearing more from NASA as they are currently working on sending humans to an asteroid and Mars!