There Is No NASA ‘Cloud Machine’ – Here’s The Real Explanation Of That Viral Video

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There Is No NASA ‘Cloud Machine’ – Here’s The Real Explanation Of That Viral Video‘ForbesWatch NASA dummies crash test flying and falling vehicles‘The VergeNASA wants to make the first Starliner test flight a fully operational mission‘Digital Trends

There Is No NASA ‘Cloud Machine’ – Here’s The Real Explanation Of That Viral Video

I suspect the reason that this viral inaccuracy has resurfaced is because NASA tested its powerful RS-25 engine on February 21st at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The RS-25 engine powered the Space Shuttle and a similar version will be used for NASA’s new Space Launch System (see figure below). Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi has been a long-time test facility for such engines and is probably why these tests have generated "fake news" over the years. A NASA press release points out,

Operators powered one of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) engines up to 113 percent thrust level, the highest RS-25 power level yet achieved, during a test on Feb. 21 at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss. The test lasted 260 seconds with power levels at 113 percent for 50 seconds of the test. This was the third full-duration test conducted on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis this year. NASA has been using the stand since January 2015 to test RS-25 engines for use on its new SLS rocket. Four RS-25 engines will help power SLS at launch, supplying a combined 2 million pounds of thrust and working in conjunction with a pair of solid rocket boosters to provide more than 8 million pounds of thrust.

During the flight of a two-stage Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket between 4:25 and 4:42 a.m. EDT, 10 canisters about the size of a soft drink can will be deployed in the air, 6 to 12 miles away from the 670-pound main payload. The canisters will deploy between 4 and 5.5 minutes after launch forming blue-green and red artificial clouds. These clouds, or vapor tracers, allow scientists on the ground to visually track particle motions in space. The development of the multi-canister ampoule ejection system will allow scientists to gather information over a much larger area than previously allowed when deploying the tracers just from the main payload…The vapor tracers are formed through the interaction of barium, strontium and cupric-oxide.

Even though I wrote this article, I suspect the "Cloud Generator Machine" viral stuff will continue every time they test the rocket engines but at least now you know.

Dr. Marshall Shepherd, Dir., Atmospheric Sciences Program/GA Athletic Assoc. Distinguished Professor (Univ of Georgia), Host, Weather Channel’s Sunday Talk Show, Weather (Wx) Geeks, 2013 AMS President

Reference

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Watch NASA dummies crash test flying and falling vehicles

This week, NASA’s Langley Research Center published a video of the crash-test-dummies whose horrifying accidents make air and space travel safer for their human counterparts.

The dummies keep humans safer by giving scientists key data about whether bodies bend or break under different crash conditions. So they’re outfitted with sensors and instruments, and can vary in size from 105 to 220 pounds to simulate a range adult human bodies.

Then, the dummies are strapped into the seats of both aircraft and spacecraft and dropped. In March 2017, for example, 10 dummies and a whole lot of luggage from an unclaimed baggage center in Alabama (really) were loaded into an airplane’s fuselage, which was dropped 14 feet onto hard dirt. The bags damaged the plane’s floor in some spots, but the dummies suffered no major injuries. That information will be key for setting safety standards for new planes.

NASA researchers also used dummies in a series of crash tests in 2016 for the Orion crew capsule, which is intended to one day carry astronauts to deep space and back again. When it returns, the plan is for it to splashdown in the Pacific ocean, slowed by three main parachutes. NASA used a pair of dummies ‘ one large and one small ‘ in a mockup of the Orion capsule and tested them by dropping it into a 20-foot-deep pool, called the Hydro Impact Basin.

So, to the brave dummies at NASA enduring helicopter crashes, fuselage drops, and water landings in mockup spacecraft, we salute you. The safety of air travelers and NASA astronauts alike rests on your battered shoulders (and heads and necks).

Reference

Watching: Forbes Watch NASA, The Verge NASA, That Viral Video
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