What do NASA’s Orion spacecraft and nuclear-powered airplanes have in common? Here’s a hint: It’s something they also both have in common with actor Samuel L. Jackson.
The answer, of course, is that they’ve all been to NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio.
The piece of hardware on the left fits roughly were the NASA logo is on the rocket to the right.
Plum Brook, a branch of NASA’s Glenn Research Center, was originally created to allow the agency to conduct nuclear research, first related to airplanes and then to nuclear rockets. Today, it’s a unique facility that allows testing that replicates extreme conditions encountered in spaceflight – from vacuum and thermal environments found in orbit to launch-like acoustic levels that would turn a human body into a puddle.
On an average day, the Space Power Facility at Plum Brook is engaged in tasks like using a a vacuum chamber made of aluminum equivalent to about one billion soda cans to test large payload fairings for SpaceX rockets. And on special occasions it’s used for more unique purposes, like serving as a set for Marvel’s The Avengers (in case you’ve ever wondered why there was a NASA banner hanging ...