Successful First Pressure Test of the StarMax Prototype
March 16, 2023
Marysville, Washington – 3/16/2023 – Gravitics conducted a successful pressure test of a StarMax prototype hull. The goal of the test was to prove the pressure worthiness of the StarMax space station module.
The system passed all test milestones and was subjected to higher pressures than it would experience in space, successfully reaching 26.6 PSIG (pounds per square inch gauge) while remaining airtight.
The test involved ramping up pressure inside the test article by pushing compressed air into the vessel. At each pressure milestone, the team allowed a few minutes for the test article’s pressure to stabilize while monitoring how the hull material behaved.
The first checkpoint was at 6 PSI. Holding there, the test team performed safety checkouts and confirmed the validity of the test.
The team then increased the pressure to 14.9 PSI and held it for 90 minutes. This is the peak nominal pressure level maintained on both StarMax and the ISS. This is equal to the pressure we experience at sea level on Earth. StarMax’s hull material behaved as expected and maintained integrity.
The team next filled the test article to 17.6 PSI. This pressure level represents StarMax’s “Maximum Expected Operating Pressure” or, in NASA phrasing, “Maximum Design Pressure."
StarMax is extremely unlikely to experience 17.6 PSI, but the test proved it could take it anyway.
The test article held 17.6 PSI for 27 minutes. The team then pressurized the system to 22.8 PSI. By reaching and holding this level, the StarMax prototype hull matched the ISS Burst Test Level (1.5 times the Maximum Design Pressure of the ISS).
The test team continued to step up pressure to a final level of 26.4 PSI. The test article remained stable while an internal pressure of greater than 26.4 PSI was held for 12 minutes before depressurizing at the end of the test.
Successfully reaching the goals for this test means Gravitics has proven the space worthiness of our 8-meter StarMax hull. This test represents a key milestone in Gravitics' drive to expand human life in space.