Welcome to the fifth article in our series on NASA facilities. In this article we are going to focus on some of the older, but still lesser known, NASA locations. We hope you enjoy the journey.
Wallops Flight Facility
Located on Wallops Island, Virginia, and founded in 1945, the Wallops Flight Facility supports a number of flight and launch range services for both government and commercial sector programs. This includes research aircraft, unmanned systems, high-altitude balloons, as well as both sub-orbital and orbital rockets. The full range of Wallops’ capabilities meets ongoing and emerging needs in science, aerospace, defense, and commercial industries.
Wallops’ geography makes it an ideal location for satellite tracking and commanding, scientific investigations, as well as supporting commercial aerospace. On-site partners include the U.S. Navy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, Virginia Space, and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.
White Sands Test Facility
NASA’s White Sands Test Facility is a component of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The White Sands Test Facility is located east of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and is an access-controlled, hazardous testing facility. Visitors must be approved before accessing the property.
The facility was established in 1963 to test propulsion systems for the Apollo spacecraft. Since then, White Sands Test Facility has supported every U.S. human space flight from Apollo to the Space Shuttle Program and the International Space Station.
Some of the areas of expertise of the White Sands Test Facility team include Materials Testing, Component Services, Machining and Fabrication, Nondestructive Evaluation, and Failure Analysis. The facility has over fifty (50) years of experience in meeting the demanding specifications and tolerances required for space flight materials. The White Sands Test Facility team members are experts in material identification, selection, characterization, acceptance testing, and failure analysis.
Neil A. Armstrong Test Facility
Formerly known as Plum Brook Station, the Neil A. Armstrong Test Facility is a satellite facility of the NASA Glenn Research Center located in Sandusky, OH. It is home to world-class test facilities supporting the international space community.
The Space Environments Complex houses the world’s largest and most powerful space environment simulation facilities, including the Space Simulation Vacuum Chamber. The Mechanical Vibration Facility is the world’s highest capacity and most powerful spacecraft shaker system, subjecting test aircraft to the simulation of launch conditions.
Armstrong’s Combined Effects Chamber is a space-environment test chamber that allows the team to conduct large-scale liquid hydrogen experiments safely. This allows scientists and engineers to better understand the performance of on-orbit fluid transfer techniques for cryogenic fuel tanks and insulation systems.
These are just a few examples of the many test capabilities at the Neil A. Armstrong Test Facility. To learn even more, visit nasa.gov/centers