Testing could lead to Mars landing

A juggernaut space company recently completed testing at a locally based world-class facility — a possible precursor to landing equipment and even astronauts onto Mars and beyond.
Andy Ouriel
May 24, 2014


A juggernaut space company recently completed testing at a locally based world-class facility — a possible precursor to landing equipment and even astronauts onto Mars and beyond.

ATK recently wrapped up sophisticated experiments on its solar arrays performed at the NASA Plum Brook Station. With operations in 22 states, ATK specializes in aerospace, defense and commercial products.

Solar arrays can convert sunlight into electricity or energy needed to power astronauts or equipment into deep space.

For about two months at Plum Brook, ATK executives perfected what’s called MegaFlex, an innovative solar array design for providing critical space performance metrics.

This testing can help achieve a wide range of challenging space exploration missions.

The MegaFlex system will ideally support the Mars InSight mission, which aims to place a lander on Mars in hopes of studying the red planet’s deep interior sometime in 2016.    

InSight will use sophisticated geophysical instruments to delve deep beneath the surface of Mars, measuring the planet’s vital signs: its pulse or seismology; its temperature or heat flow probe; and reflexes or precision tracking.

NASA officials said ATK spent about $500,000 to test its solar arrays at Plum Brook’s Space Power Facility, housing the world’s largest vacuum chamber. The Space Power Facility can simulate space-like conditions, such as configuring temperatures ranging from minus 300 degrees to 300 degrees.

Community members voiced excitement about how the two global companies collaborated with one another on such a vital project.

“ATK came to Plum Brook as a result of the continuous and successful selling of Plum Brook’s facility by (station director) Gen. David Stringer and other staff members,” said Kurt Landefeld, a member of the Friends of NASA Plum Brook, which is a local volunteer group marketing and supporting the station.

“The benefit to ATK is the company is able to use the Space Power Facility for the full-scale testing that is unavailable any place else in the world” Landefeld said.



Glad to see this is still going on... but it's a private company doing it.

Don't look to NASA to do much space exploration... their budget turned into obamaphones and welfare.

The money that ATK paid will eventually end up as welfare or a payback to some union.


"No" downthemiddle...the money will end up in the hands of the corporate giants.


Re: "the money will end up in the hands of the corporate giants."

And those members of the wealthy Washington political ruling class who have financial connections to those crony capitalist corps.

The Big Dog's back

pooh, you really flip flop a lot. One minute you're defending the rich, the next minute you're downing them. Which is it?


So it's off-topic stupid question time?

Go run around the block a couple times and wear yourself out.

The Big Dog's back

So, which is it?


Which is what?


pbj... you sound more like a guy whose income stream is determined by a union.


H*ll, the U.S. can't even get to the ISS without Russian assistance and NASA has the funding for plans for a manned Mars mission?

Read: Priorities WAY out of whack.

But, that's public bureaucratic nonsense per usual.


The government needs to stay out of scientific research and stop devoting funds to it if they're in trillions of dollars of debt. Just sayin. No matter who does it, they're going to get the same results.

And don't label me a bureaucratic right-wing conservative. I'm far from it just like I'm far from any political label. I just want the government to make sense (or cents...) for once.


Is there any value to landing on Mars? Is there something worthy to come from it?


That's a good question.

Stop It

Mineral and oil rights. What else? They've already exploited this planet beyond control, may as well start on the moon and Mars as well, huh?

thinkagain's picture

Is there any value in climbing Mount Everest? Why do it then? Because it is there.


Unknown as far as specifics go. That being said, the space program's various ventures have never NOT yielded a substantial useful return.

Just as an example, those solar panels tested at Plumbrook may very well power a Mars landing site, but those same technological advances will also be more than a little useful right here.

Stop It

Can't exploit Venus. Nothing Earth made can withstand the heat.