Manufacturing | Fabrication | Test

Imagine yourself fabricating complex parts or using your expertise to support structural, environmental and space simulated testing in world-class facilities to certify space hardware and other NASA test vehicles and mockups. Or can you see yourself being responsible for maintaining and tracking tens of thousands of pieces of property. Perhaps your interests lie with electronics or propulsion and power systems. These are areas of the work the Facilities and Test Department personnel perform on the JETS contract. Explore our capabilities in more depth . . .

Illustration of Artemis 1 orbital path from the Earth to the Moon.

Avionic, Systems Architecture & Integration

This area provides maintenance and operations services and products for 30 labs/facilities across the Johnson Space Center. The products and services range from antenna testing, electromagnetic interference certification testing, manufacturing of electronic hardware, construction and testing of prototype technologies and habitat test beds, wireless and  radio frequency identification technologies.

Structures and Materials

Structures and Materials provides engineering expertise to design, develop, evaluate and qualify space vehicle structures that includes: 

  • Analysis and evaluation of space flight hardware 
  • Failure analysis 
  • Materials testing and analysis 
  • Mechanical properties of non-metallic materials 
  • Non-destructive evaluation testing 
  • Thermal protection systems 
  • Passive thermal control systems 

Propulsion and Power Systems 

Our personnel provide services for the JSC Propulsion and Power Division, which is responsible for providing engineering expertise for human and human-supported spacecraft in the areas of propulsion systems, batteries, fluid systems, hydraulic and electromechanical actuation systems, chemical processing, pyrotechnics, power generation, and power distribution and control systems. The division also provides conceptual design, feasibility studies, analysis, development, qualification testing, flight certification, operations, and sustaining engineering. 

Space Environment Simulation

Space Environment Simulation provides an extensive array of testing services and capabilities for NASA and external customers. The test facilities and uniquely experienced personnel provide world class test capabilities that include: 

  • Simulation of thermal vacuum characteristics of space environments 
  • Emergency and mobility accommodations of suited crewmembers 
  • Flight Hardware Testing & Certification 
  • Anomaly Testing 
  • Life Support Systems 

Electronics Fabrication

Our personnel provide development, spaceflight, test and interface components/assemblies as well as functional bench-top testing. 

Manufacturing

Manufacturing Services provides resources, materials, and labor necessary to produce quality flight, ground support, prototype, test hardware, and research & development. They offer experience and expertise in precision machining, sheet metal, welding, precision cleaning, soft goods, composites, models, non-metallics, and assembly. 

Man holding equipment in an open 8ft vacuum chamberJames Webb Telescope entering a large vacuum chamber for testing.

Facilities

Thermal Vacuum Chambers

Chamber A is the largest JSC thermal vacuum test facility, built in 1963 to test the Apollo Command/Service module in a space-like environment. The working area of Chamber A is 55 feet in diameter and 90 feet high with a 40-foot diameter opening. The chamber was used to test the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Project. Other chambers are utilized to certify spacesuits for flight.

Radiant Heat Test Facility (RHTF)

The RHTF was designed for development and certification tests for the Orbiter thermal protection system. This facility has been maintained continuously to the present time to support sustaining engineering of NASA test programs.

Photograph of a white heated vacuum chamber.Photograph of a blue heated vacuum chamber.
Photograph of a man working on equipment in the Structure Test LabMan and Woman working on a thruster engine in a structure test lab.

Structures Test Lab (STL)

The STL conducts static load testing of assemblies and components for flight programs and organizations. The tests range from mechanical properties testing of materials to full-scale verification testing of payloads and spacecraft structures to include:  

  • Modern load/stroke control and data systems facilitate large scale structural testing
  • Equipped with a variety of hydraulic and electromechanical load frames with maximum load capacities ranging from 10 to 220 kip

The STL performs non-hazardous vibration testing in conjunction with capabilities in vibration, human-rated vibration and modal testing.

Materials Evaluation Lab (MEL)

The MEL provides material property and failure analysis through destructive and non-destructive material analysis techniques. This group is comprised of five labs:

 
  • Analytical Chemistry Lab/Nanotechnology – material property determinations and nanotechnology research
  • Nondestructive Testing and Evaluation Lab – various Non-Destructive Techniques (NDT) analysis
  • Metallography Lab – material microstructure analysis and photography
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy Lab – material imaging to 1 nm resolution
  • Polymer Lab – Tensile, lap shear and/or compressive testing
Cross cut of a multilayered material for evaluation.Man evaluating a material in a large piece of testing equipment.
“It was a conscience decision for me to come to Jacobs because of the culture.”
Juan
Man and Woman in a large blue test facility testing out an antenna.Equipment and Robonaut in a large blue acoustic test facility.

Antenna Test Facility (ATF)

The ATF has a large anechoic chamber used to evaluate the electromagnetic radiation properties of antenna and other radiating objects. The chamber is designed as a modified, flared wave guide horn with microwave absorbing materials lining the inner surfaces. The overall length of the Anechoic Chamber is 150 feet. The width and height dimensions at the flared end are 50 feet by 50 feet. A movable wall exists at the end to allow the entry of large test articles and heavy machinery needed for test preparation. A large three-axis positioner with single or twin model towers is used to position test articles during far-field testing.

Electromagnetic Interference/Compatibility (EMI/EMC)

The EMI/EMC laboratories are used to certify and evaluate flight hardware, ground support equipment, and commercial off-the-shelf equipment for Space Shuttle Orbiter and Space Station manifest. They provide the capability to conduct tests to MIL-STD-462 and SSP-30238 for emission and susceptibility.
RF/EMI Testing of Spacesuit Communications at Johnson Space CenterMan testing space suit with electromagnetic interference in a test facility.
Woman testing electrical equipment in a blue and green test facility.Man assembling and testing circuit boards at a large desktop workstation.

Energy Systems Test Area (ESTA) Power Systems

Examples of testing capabilities

 
  • Battery safety & performance
  • Battery abuse & nominal cycling
  • Power Quality testing
  • Integrated power system verification
  • Off nominal power testing

ESTA Propulsion Systems

  • Thermal/vacuum chamber testing
  • Mars environment simulation testing
  • In-Situ Resource Utilization testing
  • Thermal cycling
  • Liquefied natural gas storage and handling
  • Low pressure water flow testing
  • Mechanical Separation Systems
    • Pyrotechnics testing
    • Propellant loading
    • Hazardous vibration
  • Cryogenic propulsion system testing
  • High pressure hydrostatic proof & burst testing
  • High pressure pneumatic proof & burst testing
  • Fuel cell system fabrication & power testing
  • Relief Valve setting and certification testing
Photograph of a small thruster and propulsion system in a large test facility.
Man working on and testing equipment within the a propulsion system.
Female engineer testing battery materials in a lab.Man working on and testing batteries in a testing facility.

ESTA Destructive Battery Testing

  • Perform battery abuse testing as well as nominal cycling 
  • Perform vent and burst pressure test operations on cell/battery housings