CLEVELAND - How loud is 166 decibels? It's about as loud as the thrust of 20 jet engines or a rock concert with 36,000 speakers. It's also the level of noise some spacecraft experience when launched and is now the highest level of noise that can be produced in the Reverberant Acoustic Test Facility (RATF) located at NASA Glenn Research Center's Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio.
For the first time in the RATF, spaceflight components were subjected to these high noise levels to determine if they would withstand acoustic reverberations during launch or launch aborts. Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) completed testing on a 5.2-meter fairing for its Falcon 9 rocket in the RATF and Plum Brook's Space Power Facility (SPF) vacuum chamber this summer. The tests confirmed the fairing could withstand the harsh conditions associated with space travel.