Acoustic Testing Begins for Orion at NASA's RATF

At NASA’s Glenn Research Center’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio, the first round of acoustic testing has begun for the Orion spacecraft. The science and engineering that goes into testing NASA’s most notable projects is sometimes just as interesting as the end mission itself. Orion will go through many tests before it is ever launched into space, but in the Reverberant Acoustic Testing Facility (RATF) it will be assaulted with powerful levels of acoustic energy. The acoustic tests simulate the acoustic environments that Orion will be subjected to during launch and in space.

An article from April in Spaceflight Insider describes the test in more detail, quoting Jerry Carek who is the Plum Brook Station’s Space Power Facility Manager:

“With every test, you’re subjecting the test article to different inputs,” Carek explained. “You’re throwing different forces at it, and you’re measuring the responses at different areas on the test article. Each test has its own objective. There are different load cases too. Throughout a mission, you don’t just take the very worst case that this thing experiences. You take the different cases because the forces will be different at different areas. Even in the acoustic environment, right during launch, you’ll have a different acoustic profile than you’ll have halfway through the atmosphere. Each test case is tailored towards a specific condition.”  

Read the whole article at



Orion spacecraft preparing to undergo acoustic testing at Glenn Research Center’s Plum Brook Station. Photo credit: Rami Daud Alcyon

Behind the white walls in the photo above, are 23 air modulators that were designed and manufactured by Team Corporation. The air modulators produce high frequency noise that is blasted through rectangular horns, and into the chamber. Each acoustic generator built by Team Corporation consists of a servo-hydraulic actuator driving a specialized reciprocating poppet valve that provides modulation of a high pressure airstream. This design allows the modulators to reproduce extreme acoustic environments in large reverberant or progressive wave tube test chambers. Visit to read more about this product, or to request a quote.