September 16, 2021

From rocket to research

After Apollo, in addition to rocket propulsion, the Marshall Center undertook new scientific projects, including:
The first laser geodynamic satellite (LAGEOS), launched in 1976. Play the role of a mirror. The satellite reflects the laser beam back to the earth to provide a high-precision measurement of the earth’s continental drift.
Gravity ProbeA was launched in 1976 from NASA’s facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. This suborbital space probe carries an atomic clock to an altitude of 6,200 miles (9978 kilometers). Comparing the flying clock with the same clock on the ground allows physicists to test the predictions of the effect of gravity on time in Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Gravity ProbeB was launched into the earth orbit in 2004, using a high-precision gyroscope to test Einstein’s prediction of time and space near a large rotating body.
A series of satellites called the High Energy Astronomical Observatory (HEAO). HEAOA was launched in 1977 and it took 16 months to scan the sky for distant X-ray sources such as pulsars, quasars and black holes. HEAOB, also known as the Einstein Observatory, took the first astronomical X-ray image in 1978 and discovered that Jupiter and the Earth emit X-rays. HEAOC measured X-ray, gamma-ray, and cosmic-ray particles during its 197981 mission.
To test HEAOB, Marshall engineers built a facility equipped with a 1700-foot (518-meter) tube that can send an X-ray beam to a 20ft (6m) diameter, 60ft (18.3m)) In a long vacuum chamber. A telescope or a spacecraft designed to observe X-rays from space can be placed in the chamber so that the X-ray beam can be used as a simulated starlight to test its focusing and measurement capabilities.
According to NASA’s datasheet, the system is now called the X-ray and Cryogenic Facility (XRCF) and has been updated over the years to test X-rays at the Chandra X-ray Observatory, various weather satellites, and Japan’s Hinode satellite telescopes. and, more recently, the X-ray telescopes on NASA’s X-ray Polarization Detector Imaging (IXPE) satellite. The test chamber can be cooled to minus 414 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 248 degrees Celsius) and is also used to test the mirrors of the James Webb Space Telescope, which are designed to operate in extremely cold temperatures.
Space Shuttle and International Space Station Equipment
On March 15, 1978, a photo from the George C Marshall Space Flight Center shows that the Space Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise was towed to a dynamic test bed (not visible in the photo) to perform vibration tests. You have just passed Building 4732 of the Aerospace Dynamics Laboratory on the right. The tall building in the distance is Marshall’s main administrative office building.
On March 15, 1978, a photo shows the space shuttle Enterprise being towed to a dynamic test bed (not shown) at the Marshall Center for vibration testing.
(Image source: NASA)
In the space shuttle era, Marshall’s team oversaw several private companies making parts for the new spacecraft. Rocketdyne Rocket Manufacturing Company is responsible for the space shuttle main engine (SSME); Thiokol Chemical Company created the solid rocket booster (SRB); material supplier Martin Marietta is responsible for the outer fuel tank of the space shuttle, which is located in the meter Chudd assembled. The crew of
Marshall also worked with European partners to manage the development of Spacelab, a pressurized module used to house scientists and astronauts, and their experiments in space shuttle flights. The Spacelab component has performed 36 space shuttle flights. As the plan matured, the Marshall Center opened a space laboratory mission operations control facility in Huntsville, where scientists can monitor experiments and communicate directly with astronauts conducting experiments.
Marshall is NASA’s main center for the design and construction of the Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched from the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched into Earth orbit from the Columbia Space Shuttle in 1999. The two telescopes are still in operation at the beginning of 2021.
On June 13, 2021, the Hubble Space Telescope was shut down due to a problem with the 1980sera payload computer. The team members continue to work on solving this problem in order to make the telescope run again. The
Hubble Space Telescope is still based on the 1980sera payload computer designed by the Marshall Center.
(Image Source: NASA)
As part of the ongoing operations of the International Space Station, Marshall housed the Payload Operations Integration Center, which is a control room. According to NASA, since 2001, the control room has been operating 365 days a year, every day with 24-hour staff. Here, engineers and scientists are responsible for managing the timing and communications of science experiments on the space station. The
Marshall Center is responsible for the design and testing of the Ares rocket. As part of Project Constellation, the rocket will launch cargo and crew vehicles. Project Constellation is a project from the early 2000s aimed at connecting the completion of the International Space Station to the Moon and Mars. Link tasks.


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