Press Release

Construction Milestone Completed at NASA Glenn’s New Test Facility in Sandusky

By SpaceRef Editor
May 11, 2010
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CLEVELAND — The final major concrete pour for the Reverberant Acoustic Test Facility (RATF) at NASA’s Glenn Research Center’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky was completed April 29.

The facility is an integral part of Glenn’s Space Environment Test (SET) Project that is responsible for completing test facilities to provide one-stop space environmental testing required by the Orion Project at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston. The Space Power Facility, already the largest vacuum chamber in the world, is being augmented with new vibroacoustic capabilities, which include reverberant acoustic, mechanical vibration and modal test facilities.

The recent pour was for the RATF chamber ceiling, which is two feet thick, measuring 49 feet 5 inches by 41 feet 5 inches. It is composed of 135 cubic yards of 5,000 pounds per square inch self-consolidating concrete, weighing about 540,000 pounds. Additionally, the ceiling is reinforced with 10,874 feet of rebar which weigh about 22,227 pounds. The rebar is the re-inforcing steel that consists of long metal rods that form the internal skeleton within the concrete.

“The combination of size and acoustic power is unprecedented among the world’s known active reverberant acoustic test facilities,” said Susan Motil, project manager for SET at Glenn. The facility is under construction, with the RATF Horn Room already completed. The Horn Room will house 36 acoustic horns to simulate the high noise levels that will be experienced during a space vehicle launch.

Glenn and Benham Companies, LLC, Oklahoma City, are leading the design and construction of the new vibroacoustic test capabilities. When completed, the RATF is estimated to have a volume of 101,000 cubic feet. It will be capable of achieving an empty chamber acoustic overall sound pressure level of 163 dB.

The ceiling features a slot that is 27 feet 3 inches by 2 feet 4 inches to accommodate an overhead crane. There are also 16 sleeves for fire protection sprinklers that are each 2 inches in diameter, 40 anchors for test equipment and five embedded plates on the top surface for fall protection equipment.

Completion of the entire Space Environment Test Facility is expected by April 2011.

For more information about Glenn’s Space Environment Test Facility, see:

For more information about Glenn, see:

For print quality images of the Reverberant Acoustic Test Facility ceiling pour, see:

SpaceRef staff editor.