An out-of-this-world field trip to Boeing


Image obtained from Google Commons.

On April 10, students had the opportunity to visit Boeing Satellite Factory in El Segundo.

The facility had tight security, a picture ID as well as proof of citizenship was needed to enter. There were also guidelines that needed to be followed on what to wear during the tour. They provided bouffants, smocks and safety glasses, and pants and closed toed shoes were necessary.

Michael Woodward, a chemistry teacher, said, “My favorite part of the tour was the fact that we had the ability to go and see such a high security facility.”

On a wall in the facility was a record of all the satellites Boeing built. Sophomore Yareth Fernandez said that this was her favorite part of the tour. She also said, “The soundproof room and the different colors of the foam that covered the walls was interesting to me because I never realized that the engineers at Boeing had to take so many scientific factors into consideration while testing their products.”

There were many more interesting things to see there including a space simulation laboratory where tests are conducted on the satellites to ensure they can handle the environment in space as well as the launch.

In the space simulation laboratory, there were large vibration tables that simulated the forces the spacecraft will encounter from the rocket booster during the launch. The table could shake a spacecraft with up to 50,000 pounds of force.

Another interesting thing was the thermal vacuum chambers that simulated the heat of the sun and the cold and vacuum of space. Boeing’s chamber is one of the largest in the world that can test two satellites simultaneously. It can reach up to the heat of about one and a half suns.

Fernandez would definitely go on the tour again. “Now that I have some background knowledge, I feel like I would have a better grasp on the information given during the tour.”

Woodward would also go on the tour again “so [he] could see everything again and, possibly, more satellites. [He] would also like to ask more questions.”