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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Cryocooler Flight Environment Evaluation at the Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS)
April 24, 2015

Photo of the compressor test rig on the VMS
The SHI CSA-71A compressor test rig on the VMS

The Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS) at Ames Research Center was used by the SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) Cryocooler Team to evaluate a Sumitomo Heavy Industries (SHI) model CSA-71A helium compressor to be installed in the SOFIA main cabin that would be used to support the upGREAT science instrument (SI). SOFIA is a modified Boeing 747-SP that operates like a typical transport category aircraft with runway and turbulence vibration; as the 300 lb. helium compressor was not designed for flight, the SOFIA team turned to the VMS to perform the SOFIA Cryocooler Flight Environment Evaluation for performance in normal and extreme flight vibration environments before installation. For the evaluation, the VMS produced the required 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, and 0.5 G sinusoidal motions at 1 Hz frequency for 20-minute durations at each G level. The SOFIA Cryocooler project saved significant time and money by using the VMS over developing a new testing capability. The collected data will be used to anticipate Cryocooler performance and incorporate operating acceleration limits in the system power logic. (POC: Steve Beard )



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