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Space Power Facility (SPF)
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Facility Fact

The SPF has supported Mars lander system tests, International Space Station hardware tests and rocket-fairing separation tests.


Overhead view of shroud separation test setup in the SPF C-2002-1806: Preparing for a shroud separation test
Facility Capabilities
Overall Functions:
  • Sustains high vacuum
  • Simulates solar radiation (400-kW arc lamp)
  • Simulates solar radiation (4-MW quartz heat lamp array)
  • Produces cold environments via cryogenic cold shroud (-320 °F)
  • Provides a high degree of vibration isolation

Test Chamber

  • 100-ft diameter by 122-ft.-tall test area
  • Designed for external pressure of 2.5 psig
  • Designed for internal pressure of 5.0 psig
  • Chamber floor designed for a load of 300 tons
  • Two 50 ft by 50 ft entrances, 180° apart
  • Personnel entry door measuring 8- by 8-ft
  • 20-ton vacuum compatible polar crane at top of chamber
  • Chamber penetrations for power, data acquisition, and high-pressure liquids and gases
  • Concrete chamber enclosure, 6 to 8 ft thickness

Vacuum Pumping System

  • Five 2200 liters/s turbopumps
  • Sixteen 48 in diameter LN2-baffled electrically heated, oil diffusion pumps (pumping speed - 700,000 liters/s)
  • Ten 48 in diameter cryopumps with vacuum isolation gate valves (pumping speed - 600,000 liters/s)
  • Pumpdown Times:
    Atmospheric pressure to 20 torr: 2 hrs
    20 torr to 10-3torr: 4 hrs
    10-3 torr to 10-6 torr: 2-6 hrs

Water Systems

  • Cooling tower water to dissipate waste heat produced by such devices as GN2 compressors and vacuum pumps
  • Domestic and fire water: 150,000 gallon water tower
  • Demineralized water system

Gas Systems

  • Gaseous nitrogen: 135,000 scf at 2400 psig
  • Gaseous nitrogen (trailer): 70000 scf at 2400 psig
  • Helium: 220,000 scf at 2800 psig

Cryoshroud

  • Variable geometry
  • Can be configured inside the test chamber
  • Cryoshroud is 42 ft wide by 80 ft long with a 22-ft height
  • Alternate configuration: 40 ft diameter cylinder by 40 ft tall
  • Ten individual zones with separate temperature control
  • Temperatures from ambient to -250 °F
  • Temperature transition of 1 °F per min

Cryogenic System

  • Capable of removing 14 MW of heat from cryoshroud

Thermal Systems

  • 7 MW of power available for infrared heat lamps
  • 400 kW solar simulator

Reverberant Acoustic Test Facility

  • Reverberant acoustic chamber
  • 14.5 by 11.4 by 17.4 m (47.5 by 37.5 by 57 ft H)
  • Chamber volume: 2,860 m3 (101,189 ft3)
  • Gaseous nitrogen generation system
  • Horn room with acoustic modulators and horns
  • Acoustic control system
  • Hydraulic supply system

Mechanical Vibration Facility

  • 3-axis, 6 degrees of freedom, servo-hydraulic, sinusoidal base-shake vibration system
  • Embedded steel plate for modal testing (2,100,000 Kg/4,650,000 lb reaction mass)
  • Large aluminum table - 6.7 m (22 ft) in diameter
  • Wide annular mounting surface - 0.61 m (2 ft) wide
  • 16 hydraulic cylinder actuators

Data Systems

  • Facility data system
  • Slow speed test data acquisition system (1 Hz continuous)
  • High-speed test data acquisition system (100 KHz sampling rate using Sigma Delta sampling)
Further Information
Space Power Facility (SPF)
Home of the world's largest vacuum chamber.
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Last Updated: December 13, 2013