Spacecraft Magnetic Test Facility

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Spacecraft Magnetic Test Facility
Spacecraft Magnetic Test Facility.jpg
Spacecraft Magnetic Test Facility is located in Maryland
Spacecraft Magnetic Test Facility
Spacecraft Magnetic Test Facility is located in the US
Spacecraft Magnetic Test Facility
Location Good Luck Road, Greenbelt, Maryland
Coordinates 39°0′24″N 76°49′31″W / 39.00667°N 76.82528°W / 39.00667; -76.82528Coordinates: 39°0′24″N 76°49′31″W / 39.00667°N 76.82528°W / 39.00667; -76.82528
Built 1966
Architect NASA
NRHP Reference # 85002811
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 3, 1985[1]
Designated NHL October 3, 1985[2]

The Spacecraft Magnetic Test Facility at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, United States, was built in 1966 to allow the evaluation of magnetic movement in spacecraft. The building is constructed on non-magnetic materials and contains a magnetic coil system that allows the cancellation of the Earth's magnetic field. This unique building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985.[3]

The 60-foot (18 m) square building contains a 42-foot (13 m) diameter 3-axis Braunbek coil with four loops on each axis. The coil cancels the Earth's magnetic field within a central 6-foot (1.8 m) spherical volume. Fluctuations in the ambient field are removed by a servo control, producing stability to half a nanotesla. An artificial magnetic vector can be produced and rotated at a variable rate. 9.42-foot (2.87 m) Helmholtz coils are used for perm/deperm operations. A 6,000-pound (2,700 kg) monorail hoist is provided for equipment handling. HEPA filtration and air conditioning are provided.[4]

The facility is used to determine and minimize the magnetic movement of unmanned spacecraft and to calibrate flight magnetometers.


  1. ^ National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ "Spacecraft Magnetic Test Facility". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  3. ^ "Maryland Historical Trust". National Register of Historic Places: Spacecraft Magnetic Test Facility. Maryland Historical Trust. 2008-06-12. 
  4. ^ Butowsky, Harry A. (May 15, 1984). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form: Attitude Control Test Facility" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 

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