Further update on breaking things

Roamy here.  The Shell Buckling test went very well yesterday.  The test article held over 860,000 lbs. load while pressurized at 1 psi above atmosphere.  They had to decrease the pressure to 0.6 psi (making it less stiff) in order to get buckling.  The sounds of welds and stiffeners popping was like the rumble of thunder in the high bay.

Photogrammetry at 847,000 lbs. load
View from the inside

A couple of points to make.  Some readers here and on FB thought this was a Shuttle test, which seems pointless given the short time left to that program.  This has nothing to do with the Space Shuttle.  It does look like a barrel section of the External Tank because it used the same tooling.  It would make sense to re-use what we can from the Shuttle program for the next generation of launch vehicles.  The test facility already existed – it had been used for Saturn, Shuttle, and Space Station testing and will be used in future testing of composite structures.  The data from this test will improve the design of the Shuttle replacement (current name is “space launch system”, I expect that to change) and save weight.