Photos Of The Day: Orion Spacecraft Undergoes New Portable, Acoustic Testing

More than 1,500 speakers simulate the Orion module's experience aboard a powerful rocket.

To ensure that the Orion crew module can withstand the extreme forces it will encounter aboard NASA’s Space Launch System, engineers conducted a new acoustic, portable test on the module.

The new Direct Field Acoustic testing — created by Lockheed Martin at their Colorado facility — utilizes more than 1,500 high-energy speakers encircling the module.

To recreate some of the forces the module will experience aboard the SLS, which is NASA’s most powerful rocket yet, the speakers blast up to 150 decibels at Orion. For comparison, a motorcycle registers as about 88 decibels.

During testing, the engineers have to wait at the other end of the building equipped with ear protection, according to Popular Science.

Because the test is new — using mobile speakers instead of a stationary acoustic chamber — the process itself is still undergoing evaluation. The module will also be examined in a standard acoustic chamber to compare the results of these portable speakers.

If Orion, which first flew through space in 2014, passes acoustic tests, it will be cleared for Exploration Mission-1 atop the SLS in 2018.

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