National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Zero Gravity Research Facility

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Description

The Zero G Facility provides a near weightless or microgravity environment for 5.18 seconds as the experiment vehicle free falls, in a vacuum, for 432 ft. Evacuating the chamber to a pressure of less than 0.01 torr lowers the aerodynamic drag on the free falling vehicle to less than 0.00001 g.

Four booster pumps and a single vacuum pump staged in series with the GRC central exhaust system can evacuate the 20 feet diameter by 470 feet long vacuum chamber in about 1 hour. Seven drop vehicles are available and can accommodate test hardware weighing up to 1000 lbs. and measuring up to 40 inches in diameter and 60 inches in length.

At the end of the free fall the experiment vehicle is stopped at a mean rate of 35 g in the decelerator cart. The decelerator cart is 12 feet in diameter and 20 feet in depth and is filled with small spheres of expanded polystyrene. The expanded polystyrene safely stops the drop vehicle in a distance of about 15 feet. More than 4500 drops have been conducted in the facility since it became operational in 1966.

Features

  • Facility provides a reduced gravity test capability unique in NASA and the nation.
  • Largest microgravity drop tower in the world both in terms of available payload and microgravity test duration, providing 5.18 seconds for payloads weighing up to 1000 lbs.
  • Provides the highest quality reduced gravity level of any ground based facility, with acceleration levels on the order of 10 -5 g.
  • 0.01 torr vacuum reduces aerodynamic drag to less than 0.00001 g.
  • 2 drops can be completed per day.
  • 470’ Long x 20’ diameter, vertical vacuum chamber
  • 7 Drop Vehicles can accept hardware up to 40” in diameter and 60” in length.
  • 20 and 3 Ton Bridge Cranes.
  • Large shop area supports experiment buildup and modification
  • Class 10,000 Clean Room

Research Projects

  • Fundamental microgravity research in fluid physics and combustion.
  • Risk reduction testing for space flight experiments and space flight hardware development.
  • Spacecraft fire safety research
  • Environmental control and life support system testing.

Potential Uses

  • Space Technology Development
  • Space Flight Experiment Definition
  • Space Flight Experiment component and subsystem testing
  • Basic Scientific Research
  • Impact Testing

More information at the NASA Glenn Zero Gravity Research Facility web site

Point of Contact: Eric Neumann, 216-433-2608

View more Zero Gravity Research Facility information on the NASA Glenn Facilities web site.