GPM Core Observatory Centrifuge Testing

Photograph of the GPM core propulsion system attached to a large centrifuge
Image Caption: 
The GPM Core Observatory undergoing centrifuge testing at Goddard Space Flight Center.

NASA technicians spun the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite up to just over 10 RPM in Goddard Space Flight Center’s High-Capacity Centrifuge facility March 31. At that speed, the spin exerted a lateral pressure of 2.4 G’s, or 2.4 times the force of gravity on the satellite.

Spin tests such as these are used to determine whether the forces of launch could adversely affect hardware we put into space, and to test spacecraft chassis design.

Core Observatory Passes Centrifuge Stress Testing

The GPM Core Observatory structure successfully completed proof testing in the centrifuge facility at Goddard Space Flight Center. The satellite was tested at several different angles to simulate the increased feeling of gravity’s pull on the satellite during launch. Goddard's centrifuge can accelerate 2.5 tons to speeds so high that the payload experiences forces 30 times greater than the pull of Earth's gravity.

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