In an effort to improve designs of heavy-lift launch vehicles, NASA plans to smash an aluminum-lithium cylinder with two loading rings.
The 27.5 by 20 foot-tall cylinder will be placed between the loading rings and one million pounds of force will applied until the cylinder collapses. The test results will aid in the development of new shell buckling knockdown factors. Currently, NASA employs knockdown factors developed before the Apollo missions.
NASA plans to use the data to design more lightweight, safe and sturdy launch vehicles. The test is planned for March 23 at 1:30 p.m. at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.