Sandusky's NASA lab tests Mars Orion mission

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SANDUSKY, Ohio (13abc Action News) - There’s a lot of new interest on going back to space, from presidential wishes for Americans on the moon, to government research on UFOs.

One NASA lab - in Sandusky of all places - is at the forefront of the future missions to Mars.

We're underneath the world's largest shaker table, designed to see how spacecraft fail before they ever get into space. And one of the things ready for testing is the Orion mission, which will send people back into deep space.

“We're going to extend that presence back into deep space, to the area around the moon, and then eventually beyond,” Jimi Russell said.

Russell is with NASA Public Affairs and works with the Orion scientists who will....

“Send humans into space,” he said.

One part of the Orion capsule spent 18 months at Plum Brook until March 2017.

“So they work reliably, on launch and in space,” brigadier general David Stringer said.

Plum Brook director David Stringer says that launch is one of the hardest puzzles for his crew to solve.

“Devices can handle the aerodynamic loads going super-sonic into space,” Stringer said.

That’s how we ended up in a room of speakers, like something out of Willy Wonka.

“For Orion, we use this to simulate the launch and ascent of the rocket… We want to make sure those sound waves and those decibel levels don't harm the spacecraft, and especially don't harm the astronauts,” Russell said.

Earlier this month, President Trump stated he wanted to make the moon landing a goal, and focused on what he called 'other destinations.'

“Plant that U.S. flag and show that we lead!”

Both Russell and Stringer think we can get to the moon, and onto Mars, all with a hand from Sandusky.

“Certainly it's good news. Because the last time we were on the moon was 45 years ago,” Stringer said.

The Orion will visit here next year, but the first test flight into outer space is scheduled, right now, for late 2019.