Testing continues on the NASA’s Orion spacecraft right here in Northeast Ohio, but that is not all the work being done locally for future space exportation.
In 2020, NASA Glenn Research Center starts building a new laboratory to advance communications.
“There is always a demand for faster communication and faster information,” said Joel Kearns, the Director of Facilities Testing and Manufacturing at NASA Glenn Research Center.
The new Aerospace Communications Facility is scheduled to be completed in 2021. The 54 thousand square foot building will consolidate communications research from seven smaller buildings, and house 25 new state-of-the-art labs. Researchers, like Peter Schemmel, are excited about the possibilities.
“Bringing all these people together under the same roof allows us to collaborate and solve these more complex problems much more quickly and efficiently,” said Schemmel, who is a Principal Investigator on a space communication project.
Glenn is NASA’s primary center for advanced radio frequency technology. Working on communication systems for aircraft and spacecraft.
Schemmel says, “We can convince the communication system, that is in the laboratory, that it is actually acting, like it would be, at the moon, Mars or actually here on Earth.”
“It is another investment in Cleveland to make sure that NASA’s Glenn Research Center produces cutting edge technology that we can really apply to upcoming aerospace missions,” stated Kearns.
The new lab will include a two-story shielded test space and new antenna fields that will push research into the higher gigahertz frequency range, which they can’t do now.
“Allowing us to test new equipment that is going to be going to the Moon and on to Mars. That will give us higher capacities and higher data rates and we can do more science with that,” said Schemmel.
“Years ago on the Apollo program you see a lot of grainy black and white TV images. Well what we will be able to get with gigahertz communication you’ll be able to see really high res, high frame rate video, so it’s almost going to feel like you are there," Kearns said.
This will be the third new building on NASA Glenn campus in recent years, the Mission Integration Center opened in 2014. Work continues on the Research Support Building set to open in 2020. And soon after, The Aerospace Communications Facility will expand government and private technology for years to come.
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