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NASA Orion crew exploration vehicle (updates)

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DocM    16,326

In spite of initial claims that the heat shield performed well it is going to be redone. Instead of a honeycomb with 320,000 cells which have to be manually filled with AvCoat using a caulk gun style device, they're switching to tiles. Not sure what kind of tiles yet, but if I were them I'd look very hard at using a PICA variant as SpaceX has..

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Jim K    12,810

@ jjkusaf: Funding is not so much the issue as it is a problem with NASA Management. I will be the first one to state that the job of NASA Administrator is not an easy task even in the best of times. Nor is the task of any of the other Administrative personnel responsible for the other aspects of NASA's operation. They serve many masters -- The President, Congress, the Military Detachment specifically assigned to NASA's activities, the myriad of Companies with whom NASA does business, the Scientific Community, even the Public to some degree.

 

What I am saying is that it has become too convoluted. Too many masters. Too many different interests at work.

 

I suppose that what I am saying, if there's anything meaningful in my long-winded, convoluted diatribe, is that NASA needs to either reinvent itself or needs to be reinvented. The NASA of old simply does not function properly anymore.

 

Betaguy.  I do not disagree with you and I believe your remarks mirror what I said (just in a different way).  Too many "masters" giving NASA an unclear or ever changing direction.  Having a small budget does not help achieve the smaller and more manageable goals and is a major hindrance on the larger goals (whatever they are now).

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Unobscured Vision    2,650

@jjkusaf: Yep, just echoing and expounding on your point. :)

 

@DocM: That's probably a good idea on their part. SpaceX has had very good results using that solution, and those tiles can be replaced allowing for vehicle reuse. If they can reuse Orion, that would be quite a welcome development, since rehabbing Orion would be far less costly than performing the same procedure on a Space Shuttle by orders of magnitude. If I recall correctly, that's the primary reason they cannot reuse capsule-type craft (like Apollo, Soyuz and so forth) -- because of reentry damage. Mitigate that and reuse becomes an option if you build it in.

 

That's why I like Dragon and Dragon V2 so much. They're built from the ground up to be reusable.

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FloatingFatMan    17,926

So, I assume someone's going to be paying a rather large penalty over this screw up?

 

Also, why the hell are they using something so... inaccurate.. as fractions of inches to align something so critical? They need to work to millimetres!

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DocM    16,326

One would hope so, but history says that like other govt. cost-plus boondoggles it'll be put on Joe Sixpack's tab.

Working both Imperial and metric in one project isn't unusual for NASA and it's contractors, and conversion issues have cost missions before. In controlling the Mars Climate Orbiter orbital insertion maneuver NASA's ground based trajectory calcs used pound-seconds instead of the orbiters newton-seconds, which didn't end well.

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FloatingFatMan    17,926

Working both Imperial and metric in one project isn't unusual for NASA and it's contractors, and conversion issues have cost missions before. In controlling the Mars Climate Orbiter orbital insertion maneuver NASA's ground based trajectory calcs used pound-seconds instead of the orbiters newton-seconds, which didn't end well.

 

Blithering idiots.

 

Use 1 or the other, NEVER mix them!

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flyingskippy    165

Subcontractor of a subcontractor... no wonder why it was messed up.

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McCordRm    442

Measure twice, cut once.

But use the same damn ruler both times.

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Unobscured Vision    2,650

And this was better as opposed to using manpower and cranes to fabricate this vehicle ... how?

 

They built two different Saturn variants using traditional methods and it took less than two years from concept to having something on the Launch Pad ready to test. Of course, we remember the flaws with using a pure Oxygen atmosphere, but that was an issue with the spacecraft -- the launcher itself was ready.

 

Argh. Yet another example of the wrong people being in charge of things. This whole program is fubar, by my reckoning.

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malenfant    26

How can there be a miscommunication or error? Aren't the units of measurement right there in front of them. Isn't that what there for?

And vertical fabrication? Doesnt that seem awkward. Why not horizontal.

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DocM    16,326

Vertical fab because that's how they did it for Saturn V, and they're all about doing what they've always done.

Just look at Orion: it's a scaled up Apollo with steep sides even though a shallower side angle would give more internal volume per unit of diameter and likely a lower mass, Soyuz, Shinzhou and Dragon being successful examples.

From NASA's Saturn V history,

The vertical assembly mode was selected, even though a new high-bay area was required, because horizontal assembly posed problems in maintaining accuracy of joints in the heavy, but thin-walled tanks. In vertical assembly, gravity held the huge parts together, although a 198-metric-ton crane was required to hoist the parts atop each other, and to lower the completed booster back to the horizontal for final finishing.

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malenfant    26

Fair enough. It's always interesting to know why they go about something. I suppose it's silly to quibble over means when the end is pointless.

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DocM    16,326

Exactly. It's going to cost $billions per launch when 1) a larger, cheaper commercial launcher is in the pipeline, and 2) even without 1) a combo of commercial heavy's, tugs and depots could do the SLS missions cheaper.

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Unobscured Vision    2,650

I was under the impression that this Fabricator/Welder unit was different in every conceivable way from the older models. I stand corrected.

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Draggendrop    5,747

From my experience, you can not mix imperial and metric and expect precision. Not everyone is proficient in conversions and ultimately, the longer the supervisory tree, the more likely a mistake. The one I have forged in my head is the "Gimli glider" incident, the 767 which ran out of fuel in the early 80"s. As a side note, the maintenance crew that drove from Winnipeg to carry out repairs, also ran out of fuel..... :pinch:  

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Draggendrop    5,747

Orion service module still seen as schedule driver

Orion.thumb.jpg.f269ebcb46aceb29f612eaa1Artist’s concept of the Orion spacecraft with the European service module’s distinctive X-wing solar panels. Credit: NASA

 

The pace of the European Space Agency’s development of a power and propulsion module for NASA’s Orion crew capsule will likely determine when an unpiloted test flight of the spaceship and its heavy-lift rocket will take off, NASA officials said last week.

The first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System is currently penciled in some time between July and September 2018, according to Bill Hill, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development.

“We’re a little more than three years away,” Hill told members of the NASA Advisory Council’s human exploration subcommittee July 28.

The mission will send an uncrewed Orion spacecraft into lunar orbit for a mission lasting more than 20 days. The capsule will return to Earth for a parachute-assisted ocean splashdown in a final shakedown before NASA adds final life support systems and crew accommodations for a manned flight around 2021.

NASA working on the deep space exploration rocket and capsule programs under a budget projected at approximately $3 billion per year.

 

NASA and ESA officials, together with contractors from Orion-builder Lockheed Martin and Airbus, have discussed shipping the Orion service module from Europe to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida before it is finished. European engineers could travel to the Florida spaceport to complete construction of the service module before its integration with the Orion crew capsule, which is to be assembled by Lockheed Martin at KSC’s Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building.

Engineers plan to introduce changes to the Orion crew module after a successful orbital test flight in December 2014. The upgrades include a switch from a monolithic heat shield made of ablative Avcoat material to blocks of Avcoat, a change intended to improve the manufacturability of the thermal protection system.

 

719725main_011613_mg3_Orion-SM_labels_em
 A diagram of the Orion crew capsule. Credit: NASA

The Orion service module, which did not fly on EFT-1, will include propellant tanks, batteries, pressure vessels, four solar array wings and a hypergolic engine for major burns during the mission. NASA is supplying ESA with a space shuttle Orbital Maneuvering System engine to power the Orion spacecraft, with delivery of the engine to Europe expected in early 2016, according to a schedule chart presented by Hill.

ESA is in charge of the service module’s structure, electrical system and fuel tanks. It is the first time NASA has entrusted an international partner with a major component in the critical path of a human spaceflight program.

Without ESA’s part, NASA officials said the first SLS/Orion flight — known as Exploration Mission-1 — could be delayed even further due to U.S. budget constraints. Before partnering with ESA, NASA did not have funding to complete development of the service module in time for a flight in 2017, the original target launch date for EM-1.

The ESA-funded development of the Orion service module counts as Europe’s contribution to the International Space Station’s annual operating costs from 2017 through 2020. ESA discontinued flights of its cargo delivery craft, the Automated Transfer Vehicle, in 2014.

esm_sta.thumb.png.3122c8e7cb624f22f38d73
 A structural test article of the Orion spacecraft’s service module is undergoing testing at Thales Alenia Space in Italy. It will be shipped to NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Ohio in October for further tests. Credit: NASA/ESA

Once the Orion crew and service modules are finished, NASA will send the units to Plum Brook in 2017 for combined testing in a huge thermal vacuum chamber to mimic the conditions of space. They will return to KSC for final flight preps.

ULA is kicking off production of the SLS upper stage’s first flight unit, which is propelled by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10 engine. The rocket is an interim upper stage for the heavy-lift launcher, and it is based on the Delta 4 booster’s five-meter (16.4-foot) second stage.

Preparations on the Space Launch System’s twin solid rocket boosters is also due to start soon at Orbital ATK’s facilities in Utah. A final qualification firing of a stationary booster is scheduled for April 2016.

Work on SLS ground systems at KSC is also proceeding, Hill said.

 

 

Structural modifications to the SLS mobile launch platform, originally built for the ill-fated Ares 1 rocket, were finished in July under a $20 million contract with a local Florida construction firm, Hill said.

A new contract should be signed within weeks to add cladding and support arms to the mobile launch tower, which is sitting outside the Vehicle Assembly Building at KSC. The addition of new work platforms inside the cavernous VAB’s High Bay 3 is about 30 percent complete, according to Hill.

Eleven construction projects are underway at launch pad 39B, where SLS missions will take off. The work includes refurbishment of the flame trench and sound suppression water system.

Ground systems at KSC should be ready around the end of 2017, officials said.

 http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/08/03/orion-service-module-seen-as-schedule-driver/

Cheers....:)

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DocM    16,326

We'll see if the ATV derived service module is affordable or not. Or if it can make the schedule. Lockheed had hoped to dislodge it with bits from their Jupiter/Exoliner CRS II entry, but NASA wasn't keen on that systems complexity wet it's CRS mission. Lockheed was trying to piggyback R&D for a lot of projects into CRS II.

Edited by DocM

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Draggendrop    5,747

NASA Invites Media to Orion Spacecraft Parachute Test in Arizona

WASHINGTONAug. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA is inviting media to attend a test of the Orion spacecraft's parachutes on Wednesday, Aug. 26 at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. An engineering model of the spacecraft will drop from an airplane 35,000 feet up to evaluate how it fares when the parachute system does not perform as expected.

 

During the test, Orion engineers will carry out a scenario in which one of the spacecraft's two drogue parachutes and one of its three main parachutes fail. This high-risk assessment is the penultimate drop test of the scheduled engineering evaluations leading up to next year's tests to qualify the parachute system for crewed flights. 

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/prnewswire-space-news.html?doc=201508041509PR_NEWS_USPR_____DC72272&showRelease=1&dir=0&categories=AEROSPACE-AND-SPACE-EXPLORATION&andorquestion=OR&&passDir=0,1,2,3,4,5,6,15,17,34

Hope the test goes well

Note.....LDSD chute issues .....and now a chute test which is intentionally defective.....first thing that popped into my head......Cheers

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DocM    16,326

Lest we forget....

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

mmmmmmmm.....that went well...........I think they may want to talk to their local Draco salesman........:)

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FloatingFatMan    17,926

mmmmmmmm.....that went well...........I think they may want to talk to their local Draco salesman........:)

Or ask the local flight school how to pack a parachute! ;)

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

Funny...and true...

Ironic, since all they have to do is get a military expert, of which the US Armed Forces has many, that can drop a tank (or any heavy equipment) anywhere on the planet on a routine basis.....with chutes that work......:) 

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Unobscured Vision    2,650

The Orion/CST nonsense needs to be put to pasture already. Way over budget, way overdue and suffering from "feature creep". For NASA to make this debacle the "measuring stick" for scheduling is just plain disgusting. And now they've had to spend nearly half a billion USD to secure seats on Soyuz flights to the ISS -- money that could have (and should have) been used to get the more viable (and nearly flight-ready, if not already) Dragon 2 Manned program up and running. It could be flying this year. Yes, THIS YEAR. Not in 2018, 2024 or whatever year these dipsticks arbitrarily cook up for convenience. With the funding used for those Soyuz flights, Dragon 2 could be up and running now.

But nooooooo .... the ever-present, maddening bureaucracy needs its' "Bridge to Nowhere".

Sickening.

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FloatingFatMan    17,926

That's the "good old boys" network for you. Musk doesn't play ball, so they try to shut him out and funnel the money where it always has been funnelled, into their pockets.

 

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