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20-G Centrifuge (8.84-Meter Radius Centrifuge)

20G Centrifuge
20G Centrifuge at Ames Research Center
NASA / Dominic Hart

The 20-G Centrifuge offers unique, innovative ways to conduct research and training to solve real world problems related to the effects of acceleration on systems. The 20-G facility was designed in the 1960s and used for the research during the era of the biosatellite missions. It was renovated in the early 1990s, and equipped with a drive system that enables programmable acceleration profiles. Data acquisition systems have also been continuously upgraded to provide custom capabilities. The 20-G Centrifuge is capable of producing forces up to 20 times that of terrestrial gravity. The maximum g-level attainable is dependent upon the mass of the specific payload. Mounted on the 58-foot diameter centrifuge are three enclosed cabs. The universal rail mounting system enables novel experiment configurations to be placed at any radius along arm, allowing comparison of radius, acceleration gradients, or coriolis effects. Multiple payloads can be placed along the arms to simultaneously obtain data from specimens or hardware at multiple g-levels. Areas adjacent to the centrifuge room are available for subject preparation, subject monitoring, pre-and post-centrifugation testing, and data collection. The facility is a unique testbed that allows optimization of human performance, failure mode testing, evaluation of crew technologies and optimization of human systems integration.

Operational characteristics

  • Various capacity swing frames
  • Adjustable seat with a configurable touch screen display
  • Light bar for g tolerance testing

Previous research

  • Perceptual and behavioral adaptations to altered gravity
  • Countermeasures to ameliorate the deconditioning and disorientation effects of spaceflight
  • Mechanisms of orthostatic tolerance
  • Fluid shifts in the body during acceleration
  • Locomotion, motor control, and contact forces studies under altered gravitational forces
  • Long-duration (22 hour) exposure to hypergravity

Performance limits and specifications

  • Radius: 29 ft
  • Payload: 1,200 lbs
  • Max G: 20 g (human-rated to 12.5 g)
  • Max RPM: 50 RPM
Control Board for 20G Centrifuge
Control Board for 20G Centrifuge
NASA / Dominic Hart
One of the adjustable chairs in the 20G Centrifuge
One of the adjustable chairs in the 20G Centrifuge
NASA / Dominic Hart