Aerogel Passes Shake Test for STEP

Satellite Test of the Equivalence Principle (STEP) project is planning to use Aerogel to restrict tidal motions in the liquid helium coolant. A number of tests have been conducted to examine the feasibility of this plan. The aerogel has successfully passed a cold shake test performed October 23.

Aerogel filled with superfluid helium at 2 K was shaken at levels simulating a Delta II launch as specified by JPL. After the shake test, a visual inspection confirmed that the aerogel was in a condition that meets the STEP mission requirements.

This test is the last of the tests needed to go to the next phase of development: installing aerogel in the Lockheed Dewar. A final technical report covering all four aerogel tests performed by Stanford has been started and a draft is expected shortly.