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An Electromagnetic Evaluation of the NASA Space Power Facility at Plum Brook Station



Galen H. Koepke, John M. Ladbury, Dennis G. Camell, Jason B. Coder, Chriss A. Grosvenor, Randy Direen, Jeffrey R. Guerrieri


We describe in this report (Technical Note) an extensive electromagnetic evaluation of a unique test facility designed and built by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Space Power Facility is presumed to be the world’s largest high-vacuum test chamber and is designed to qualify vehicles and equipment for outer space conditions. The interior of the aluminum chamber measures 30.5 meters (100 feet) in diameter and 37.2 meters (122 feet) from floor to the top of the dome. The facility is located at the NASA Plum Brook Station near Sandusky, Ohio and is managed by the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. This set of evaluation measurements and analysis were intended to quantify the electromagnetic characteristics of this chamber while empty. The experimental data that we collected includes an extensive set of point to point signal propagation and attenuation (insertion loss) measurements, direct measurements of electric fields generated in the chamber by a high power radio frequency source, shielding effectiveness of the aluminum shell, and environmental ambient radio frequency signals. These measurements spanned the frequency spectrum from below 100 MHz to 40 GHz. We are able to estimate several important chamber characteristics by analyzing these data. These include attenuation, decay time, mode bandwidth, quality factor (Q), electric field related to input power, and field uniformity.
Technical Note (NIST TN) -


electromagnetic field, reverberation chamber, high Q cavity, electromagnetic compatibility, statistical characteristics


Koepke, G. , Ladbury, J. , Camell, D. , Coder, J. , Grosvenor, C. , Direen, R. and Guerrieri, J. (2011), An Electromagnetic Evaluation of the NASA Space Power Facility at Plum Brook Station, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed June 23, 2024)


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Created July 1, 2011, Updated February 19, 2017