Penetration Test of Moon Penetrator
17 Aug 2001
(Source: Institute of Space and Astronautical Science)
Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), Japan
A penetration test of a penetrator made of newly adopted potting material whose high effectiveness was proven by last year's penetration test was carried out at Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico, U.S., from May 21 through June 8. As the test piece this time was composed of parts basically equivalent to those of a flight model with some exceptions, the testing was viewed as a quasi-qualification test. After performing a sampling test of penetration conditions using a separate aluminum dummy, a test using the quasi-qualification model was conducted on June 4. After digging out imitation moon sand from a sand box and fitting a hat antenna on the pentrator exposing only its antenna area, communication with the onboard communication system started from 8:00 am on June 6, prescheduled time set by a timer. Although it took a while to successfully shake hands with the penetrator at the beginning, when the communication system was locked and telemetry data from the penetrator were received and displayed on the screen, local engineers with an anxious look as well as the testing members gave a shout of joy.
After performing one day of functional test in the sand and another 2 days of indoor test, all of the scheduled tests were completed on June 8. The obtained data and the test piece will come under detailed review hereafter.
During the hot days of over 35?C, though low in humidity, local engineers at the Laboratory worked from early morning until late in the evening according to our schedule, and were happy about our successful results as much as we were, which I believe makes them legitimate members of LUNAR-A team. We are deeply grateful to them for their sincere cooperation. After having finished a qualification test scheduled in May next year, we will finally make it to a flight.