Friday, August 22, 2008

Visiting Stennis and Michoud

I am back from my trip to the south to visit the Stennis Space Center and the Michoud Assembly Facility. It is always neat to visit these NASA centers because of all the cool things there is to see and experience there.

The Stennis Space Center is NASA's center for testing the Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME's) as well as other smaller engines. While we were there we shot video in many different are a few pictures.

We were lucky enough to be here on a day where they were test firing an SSME. The engine runs for the full duration, 8 1/2 minutes. That's how long it takes the Space Shuttle to get from the ground to orbit. The test is actually going on behind me...pretty cool!

Here we see at least nine nozzles that will be used with the RS-68 engine. These engines are currently used with the Air Force Delta IV rockets, but in the future they will be used to power the Ares V's liquid fueled first stage.

After lunch, I went to see the visitors center and came across the second of three linear aerospike engines. A few posts ago, I blogged about stumbling across engine number three behind a building at the Marshall Space Flight Center. I was told that there were only three made and the third one is in Palmdale, CA. Maybe someday I will get to see engine number one!

The next day we visited Michoud, where they continue to produce the Space Shuttle External Tank and soon will begin making the Ares I Upper Stage. I was told that it takes 15-18 months to build the Shuttle External Tank...

Here are a few pics of some tanks under construction.

This is looking straight into an external tank...

Next week I am going to be visiting a state I have never been to before...Iowa.

Stay tuned for more fun and more thrills!

Should be fun!

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