Art in a Fairing Vacuum Chamber Test

In mid-May, SpaceX posted a video of a vacuum chamber test conducted on its Falcon 9 fairing. The slow motion view of the bus-sized fairing smoothly separating to reveal its payload is a slightly mesmerizing presentation of a movement that occurs with blinding speed in real life. Fairing separation accidents can scuttle an entire mission even after a flawless launch, so these up close perspectives are critical to ensuring mission success. SpaceX has been particularly effective at using video feeds to monitor their launches in real time, but even SpaceX can’t get this kind of surround-imaging in space.

 

The test of the 17 m long, 5 m wide fairing was conducted inside the world’s largest vacuum chamber at NASA’s Plum Brook Station facility at Glenn Research Center.

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Merryl Azriel

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, Merryl now enjoys reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. After three years as Space Safety Magazine’s Managing Editor, Merryl semi-retired to Visiting Contributor and manager of the campaign to bring the International Space Station collaboration to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee. She keeps her pencil sharp as Proposal Manager for U.S. government contractor CSRA.

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