Berry’s group has extensively studied the phenomenon analytically and empirically, and is using the large-scale experiment “to make sure the physics doesn’t fall apart.” Some of that work may help SLS designers if they need to dampen loads on their big new launch vehicle, but NASA has also embarked on some missionary work.
After passing their findings along to military research and development organizations that may want to make classified use of the techniques, Berry says, NASA has started inviting various civilian industries to FSC briefings. Not surprisingly, engineering firms that specialize in skyscrapers are showing interest, he says, as are shipbuilders, oil companies with deep-sea drilling platforms, and others.
“What’s important to know is it’s mature,” Berry says. “This is not just some lab experiments and concepts. We spent the time, because of Ares where we had a real issue to go solve, to understand the physics.”