Learn about the assembly and testing of the Payloads, before launched to space for collecting information.
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Learn About the Payloads in Space But first to South Central New Mexico, home to the White Sands Missile Range which has been testing scientific payloads since the 1950’s. A group of veteran racketeers from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia routinely visit White Sands to assemble and launch small scientific payloads into space. NASA’s sounding rocket program was set up to be a low cost, high risk operation while the racketeers would take a few more chances in order to get the speed and the turn around time that the experiments were looking for. Aerospace engineer Bob Española is in charge of assembling the rocket, multiple segments that control vehicle ignition, guidance, telemetry, recovery plus an x-ray telescope all fit together to make up an 18-foot payload. Everything is tested before assembly on a shaker device to duplicate the vibrations and rigors of launch. Simulations are used to activate the payloads protective dual revealing the telescope sensors. The ability to go into space provides sounding rockets with the unique view. Clear of the distorting effects of the earth’s atmosphere, they escaped the bounds of earth for just a few minutes and that’s long enough for University of Colorado student Dennis Gallagher. He designed the mission to collect information on a binary style between stock or Scorpio’s X-I as an intense gravitational field which heats methane in million of degrees. The sounding rockets telescope is able to read x-rays coming from it dividing data on the star’s physical makeup. Fully assembled, the half ton of instruments is stacked upon two tons of rocket motors and the count begins. This is always tenths time for mission controller’s right until the successful launch. Throughout the flight, scientists take data for seven minutes before the payload starts plummeting back to Earth. It lands down range 50 miles from where it was launched. At first light, helicopters deployed for the recovery. Today the crew is lucky. The payload is intact with various scratches on it. In no time at all, it’s unbolted into manageable sections for the flight back to the installation. After changes and improvement most pilots end up flying over and over again. It’s a low less way to launch experiments into space quickly and at minimal costs.