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NASA Orion crew exploration vehicle (updates)

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

Yep. That's the way they want to play, then let's deal. NewSpace can play that game too. And when NewSpace is setting up the Lunar and Martian Colonies, mining Ceres and Vesta (and likely the Trojan and Centaurs in the plane of Jupiter's orbit, if the geology turns out to be good enough), earning Trillions,  OldSpace can just sit back with what remnants of the "good old boys" network hasn't kicked the bucket yet talking about what big stars they used to be wishing they had done things differently.

So now, OldSpace ... do you want to keep cutting NewSpace out of the mix, or do you old, decrepit, elitist [insert expletive derogatory here] want to get down to some real business and clean up your legacies? Your choice -- and on behalf of every NewSpace Enthusiast out there -- your participation is welcome as long as you play by the rules. The moment you people start getting heady, you'll find it chopped off.

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Draggendrop    5,747

Could not find an SLS thread, not that it's popular or anything, so I thought I would drop these two mini bits of info here......

NASA TV Airs Test of Space Launch System Engine

WASHINGTONAug. 11, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA Television will broadcast live coverage Thursday, Aug. 13 of the penultimate hot fire test of an RS-25 engine. This is one of four engines that will power the core stage of NASA's new Space Launch System (SLS), and carry the agency's Orion crew capsule as part of the journey to Mars and other deep space destinations.

 

From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EDT, NASA TV will broadcast a series of conversations at Stennis among media, social media followers, engineers and managers discussing the SLS rocket, Orion, ground systems, and the RS-25 engine. Viewers can ask questions via social media using the hashtag #askNASA. 

Coverage of the 5 p.m. engine test will begin at 4:30 p.m. The test will last 535 seconds, the amount of time the engines will fire during an actual launch. Both programs can be viewed on NASA TV-1, the public channel for the space agency, and NASA TV-2, the education channel.

The test will take place on the historic A-1 test stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and is part of a series designed to put the upgraded former space shuttle main engines through the rigorous temperature and pressure conditions they will experience during a launch.

The tests also support the development of a new controller, or "brain," for the engine, which monitors engine status and communicates between the vehicle and the engine, relaying commands to the engine and transmitting data back to the vehicle. The controller also provides closed-loop management of the engine by regulating the thrust and fuel mixture ratio while monitoring the engine's health and status.

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit:

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/prnewswire-space-news.html?doc=201508111507PR_NEWS_USPR_____DC77261&showRelease=1&dir=0&categories=AEROSPACE-AND-SPACE-EXPLORATION&andorquestion=OR&&passDir=0,1,2,3,4,5,6,15,17,34

 

NASA Selects Contractor to Prepare Launch Structure for Agency's Journey to Mars

WASHINGTONAug. 11, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA has selected J.P. Donovan Construction, Inc., of Rockledge, Florida to begin work at the agency'sKennedy Space Center in Florida on the ground structures that will launch NASA's next generation rocket and spacecraft on the journey to Mars and other deep space destinations.

 

The Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) Mobile Launcher Ground Support Equipment Installation contract is a firm, fixed-price contract that extends for 455 calendar days and has a maximum value of $45.8 million. Significant subcontractors are Core Electric of Melbourne, Florida; MDI Services, LLC of Orlando, Florida; and Bragg Crane & Rigging of Long Beach, California.

J.P. Donovan Construction will install and integrate ground support equipment onto the existing Mobile Launcher to modify the structure with systems necessary to assemble, process and launch NASA's integrated Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft.

GSDO's primary objective is to prepare Kennedy to process and launch the next generation vehicles and spacecraft designed to achieve NASA's goals for space exploration. To achieve this transformation, program personnel are developing the necessary ground systems while refurbishing and upgrading infrastructure and facilities to meet tomorrow's demands. This modernization effort keeps flexibility in mind, in order to accommodate a multitude of government, commercial and other customers.

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/prnewswire-space-news.html?doc=201508111623PR_NEWS_USPR_____DC77370&showRelease=1&dir=0&categories=AEROSPACE-AND-SPACE-EXPLORATION&andorquestion=OR&&passDir=0,1,2,3,4,5,6,15,17,34

Cheers.....:)

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

RS-25 Rev.B Hot-fire with a new MCU? There's potential for fireworks here .... or kaboomage ... and it's FOUR of them at once?! I wanna see four uprated '25's going at once. MORE POWER! HAR HAR HAR! :p

That's a can't miss show, folks. Grab the popcorn or some cheesies, or some tofu and a salad. Who cares .. just watch.

Thanks for the heads up, DD. I know you'll be watching too. :yes:

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Draggendrop    5,747

Shuttle-era rocket engine primed for test firing

 

SSC-2012-00036H-580x326.thumb.jpg.bb560d

NASA plans to fire up a space shuttle-era rocket engine in Mississippi on Thursday for nearly nine minutes to validate upgrades to the powerplant for the Space Launch System, a new mega-rocket under development to boost astronauts on missions to deep space.

The test set to begin at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) will last for 535 seconds, the time the engine would fire during a real launch. Four of the main engines, which burn super-cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, will fly on each Space Launch System mission.

Made by Aerojet Rocketdyne, the RS-25 engine set to ignite Thursday is inside a test stand at the Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi. It generates 512,000 pounds of thrust at sea level when operating at a 109 percent throttle setting.

NASA retained 16 of the shuttle-era engines after the retirement of the reusable spaceship in 2011, enough for four SLS missions beginning with an uncrewed test launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2018. The first SLS launch with astronauts aboard an Orion crew capsule is expected in 2021.

The space agency expects to sign a contract for new RS-25 engines in October, said Bill Gerstenmaier, head of NASA’s human spaceflight directorate.

According to Aerojet Rocketdyne, the test Thursday is the sixth in a series of seven engine tests that begin in January. More series of engine firings are scheduled over the next few years to qualify engines for flight and test the Space Launch System’s massive 27-foot-diameter, 200-foot-tall core stage.

For the SLS missions, the RS-25 engines will be fitted with a modernized computer controller. The behemoth booster is also taller than the space shuttle stack, so propellants will enter the engine at higher pressures than during shuttle launches.

And plans call for the engines on the Space Launch System to operate at 109 percent of rated thrust, higher than the 104 percent setting used on shuttle missions.

 

http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/08/13/shuttle-era-rocket-engine-primed-for-test-firing/

Cheers.......

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

6 minutes to go ... /me grabs popcorn and a sports drink

Get ready for a vulgar display of power. :D

[EDIT] Awww, bummer .. it's a single-engine test only. Shoot. :(

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Draggendrop    5,747

NASA Test-Fires Engine for Next-Gen Megarocket

NASA put the engine at the heart of its huge next-generation rocket to the test again today (Aug. 13).

The agency performed a nearly 9-minute-long "hot fire" test of an RS-25 engine at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Four RS-25s will power the core stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket, which NASA is developing to get astronauts to asteroids, Mars and other deep-space destinations.

The RS-25 blazed on the test stand for 535 seconds — the same amount of time the core engines will fire during an actual SLS launch.

 

"There are probably some people in the control center high-fiving, because that was a very successful test," Gary Benton, RS-25 test project manager at Stennis, said on NASA TV just after the test concluded.

Today's test was the sixth of seven planned hot-fire trials for the RS-25, which also served as the main engine for NASA's now-retired space shuttle fleet. 

The seven-test series is "designed to put the upgraded former space shuttle main engines through the rigorous temperature and pressure conditions they will experience during a launch," NASA officials said in a statement.

"The tests also support the development of a new controller, or 'brain,' for the engine, which monitors engine status and communicates between the vehicle and the engine, relaying commands to the engine and transmitting data back to the vehicle," the officials added. "The controller also provides closed-loop management of the engine by regulating the thrust and fuel-mixture ratio while monitoring the engine's health and status."

The initial version of SLS will stand 321 feet (98 meters) tall and be capable of lofting 77 tons (70,000 kilograms) to low Earth orbit. But NASA also plans to develop an "evolved" 384-foot-tall (117 m) SLS variant that can loft 143 tons (130,000 kg) and generate about 20 percent more thrust than the agency's famed Saturn V rocket, which sent the Apollo missions on their way to the moon.

 

Engine fire is at the "1 hour mark" on the video, will try to find a shorter version....

 

http://www.space.com/30251-nasa-sls-rocket-engine-test-fire.html

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Orion Begins Critical Design Review Milestone

 

oo8513327513.thumb.jpg.2dff7e0fc4b637b05

NASA's Orion Program kicked off its critical design review at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston the week of Aug. 3.

This is a major program milestone that will ensure the spacecraft's design is ready for its deep space missions atop NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

Orion, which successfully flew about 3,600 miles into space last year during an uncrewed flight test, is being developed to send astronauts to new destinations in the solar system, including an asteroid and on toward Mars. During its next mission, Orion will venture to a distant lunar orbit beyond the far side of the moon.

"Our team across the country has been working incredibly hard to develop a spacecraft capable of expanding humanity's frontier in the solar system," said Mark Geyer, Orion Program manager. "Since even before flying Orion in space last year, we've been moving at full steam toward our first flight on SLS, and this review gives us a chance to make sure all systems and their designs meet our requirements and are in sync before we continue pressing ahead."

The review is a months-long process where engineers delve into the details of the spacecraft's systems and subsystems to evaluate their maturity and involves thousands of documents. The milestone is a rallying point for those with technical stakes in successfully building and flying future Orion missions to ensure all elements are in sync before moving ahead with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and testing.

It will include an evaluation of common aspects of the spacecraft for Exploration Mission (EM)-1 and the spacecraft for EM-2, the first Orion mission with astronauts, such as the spacecraft's structures, pyrotechnics, Launch Abort System, guidance, navigation and control and software, among many other elements. Systems unique to EM-2 will be addressed at a later critical design review for the mission in the fall of 2017.

Not only will Orion technical experts take a close look at the spacecraft, but engineers working on SLS, which recently completed its own critical design review, the ground systems needed for launch and other elements needed to execute successful missions, such as mission operations and safety and mission assurance, will be on hand during the review to provide insight.

"We're working through our critical design review now so that we can balance evaluating individual components with the hardware manufacturing needs we have to start our assembly and integration activities," said Geyer.

The Orion Program's critical design review is targeted for completion in late October.

 

http://spaceref.com/orion-1/orion-begins-critical-design-review-milestone.html

Cheers.......

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

NASA's new motto ...

"Aim low and conservatively, and as slowly as possible". Ugh. Half of this technology is simply an evolution of stuff from the early and mid-70's. The rest is stuff cooked up in the early 2000's with bits and pieces that are new tacked on as needed to give the appearance of forward momentum.

Going nowhere quickly. It's too late to pull the plug on this debacle now, as these programs are already too far into development to cancel.

/sigh

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Draggendrop    5,747

NASA's new motto ...

"Aim low and conservatively, and as slowly as possible". Ugh. Half of this technology is simply an evolution of stuff from the early and mid-70's. The rest is stuff cooked up in the early 2000's with bits and pieces that are new tacked on as needed to give the appearance of forward momentum.

Going nowhere quickly. It's too late to pull the plug on this debacle now, as these programs are already too far into development to cancel.

/sigh

It was wild to have 1 1/2 hours of drivle to see a 9 minute run.....and to hype it up like it's the most modern engine on the planet. It's a nice engine, but an old engine with a new control system, and to use them as 4 "throw aways" each flight......I have to shake my head at it sometimes....Cheers.....:D

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Draggendrop    5,747

Orion parachute test evaluates failed chute scenarios

Z2FSFDSFS-350x139.thumb.jpg.322c77085aca

The Orion Program has successfully conducted another parachute drop test over the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in the Arizona desert, testing failure scenarios with the Drogue and Main parachute system. Wednesday’s test comes after a recent safety briefing warned of crew health concerns relating to a pendulum effect where Orion spacecraft under the parachutes.

Orion Drop Test:

Orion is back into training as she prepares for her second trip into space as part of the Exploration Mission -1 (EM-1) flight in 2018.

The spacecraft conducted her first mission in space during last year’s Exploration Flight Test -1 (EFT-1) mission, lofted uphill by a Delta IV-H. In 2018, Orion will be launched by her long-term partner, SLS.

For the test series in Arizona, a boilerplate Orion spacecraft is dropped out of the back of a plane, following a test process that has been conducted since the early days of the Constellation Program (CxP).

 

2015-08-26-173007-350x234.thumb.jpg.5a26

 

The tests use a Parachute Test Vehicle (PTV) system that consists of numerous additional parachutes, required to drag the test vehicle out of the C-17 aircraft via a sledge or pallet system at altitudes ranging from 25,000 to 35,000 feet, providing the correct orientation, altitude and speed, whilst also allowing for the pallet to land safely on the ground under its own dedicated parachutes.

The test series has not been without its failures.

The Orion PTV (Parachute Test Vehicle – first generation) suffered a failure back in 2008, when the programmer chute failed to inflate after deployment, critically removing the requirement for the vehicle’s descent rate to be slowed down and to be correctly orientated for drogue chute deployment.

 

This failure resulted in the vehicle falling upside down at high speed.  With the increased velocity, when the two drogue chutes deployed, they were ripped off almost immediately due to the higher loads.

The one remaining parachute valiantly remained attached, but was obviously unable to stop the vehicle crashing to Earth at high speed on its own, resulting in the destruction of most of the test hardware.

Another failure in 2010 was believed to be the fault of the pallet system itself, which allows the test vehicle to slide out of the back of the C-17.

The pallet apparently remained attached to the test vehicle, causing the duo to crash into the ground, again destroying most of the hardware.

The 2010 parachute test failure occurred during the period Orion was being cancelled by President Obama’s FY2011 budget proposal, prior to being fully reinstated, primarily as a Beyond Earth Orbit (BEO) vehicle, by the 2010 Authorization Act.

Testing since then has proceeded with numerous successes, as Orion found her new role as an exploration vehicle, with objectives ranging from drop tests that examine how Orion’s wake – the disturbance of the air flow behind the vehicle – impacts the performance of the parachute system, through to examining the effects of one main parachute skipping the first reefing stage.

Tests on how Orion would cope during a return with only two of her three main parachutes deployed was again the subject of Wednesday’s test. However, this test was the most ambitious to date.

With the C-17 aircraft 35,000 feet above the drop zone, the test included a scenario in which one of Orion’s two drogue parachutes, used to stabilize her in the air, does not deploy, and one of her three main parachutes, used to slow the capsule during the final stage of descent, also does not deploy.

The “riskiest test ever conducted by Orion” was deemed a success and will now provide data to engineers that they will use to qualify Orion’s parachutes for missions with astronauts.

Notably, the system is designed to provide the End Of Mission (EOM) success to a crew’s trip into space, requiring a large amount of evaluation to ensure that goal – of bringing the crew to safe landing in the ocean – is accomplished.

The recent Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) meeting was provided a program status update that included an issue called ‘pendulum risk’.

Notably, that issue relates to a scenario that was tested on Wednesday, where one of the three Orion parachutes fails. The ASAP members were told there can be a pendulum effect where there is oscillation of the suspended Orion spacecraft under the parachutes.

It is believed that under certain situations, the landing loads could present a hazard in terms of crew health. However, the Orion team noted they have a good understanding of the issue via extensive analysis and has found that the way to mitigate this risk is reduce the deploy altitude for the main chutes from 8,000 feet to 6,800 feet.

The ASAP expects to be updated on the analysis in future meetings, including information to understand “how that was decided, what the margins were, and why 8,000 feet was the deploy altitude for the parachutes to begin with if 6800 feet is thought to be acceptable now,” per the meeting’s minutes.

Orion will continue to enjoy drop tests in Arizona in the run up to EM-1.

 

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/08/orion-parachute-evaluates-failed-chute-scenarios/

Well.....It didn't do this..........

Z310.thumb.jpg.affbf076457ea4ea1b1d5a4aa

and this.......

1217466.thumb.jpg.af03e24e3b48e1c90775f6

Cheers.......:woot:

 

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DocM    16,615

It did this,

In transports cargo hold
v-_MG_6604.0.0.jpg

Externally mounted drogues etc.
v-_MG_6616.0.0.jpg

On the way down
v-_MG_6737.0.0.jpg

v-_MG_6768_2.0.0.jpg

v-_MG_6773.0.0.jpg

v-_MG_6779.0.0.jpg

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Draggendrop    5,747

Those are nice shots Doc.......Just a recap article here....

Orion parachutes pass failure test

orion-launch-abort-system-chart-lg.thumb
disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

 

The Orion space capsule's parachute system passed its latest test on Wednesday, in which engineers simulated a mechanical failure.

Similar to previous tests, the Orion prototype was dropped from the upper reaches of the atmosphere -- by a C-17 aircraft instead of a balloon -- and allowed to free fall toward Earth's surface. Only this time, the craft's parachutes were programmed by NASA engineers to only partially deploy.

Orion's braking system boasts two sets of parachutes. The initial two "drogue" parachutes are deployed at high altitude to stabilize the craft upon re-entry. A few second later in the approach, three main parachutes are inflated to slow the capsule to a safe landing speed.

During the most recent test, one of the two drogue parachutes was engineered to fail, as well one of the three main chutes. Orion's parachute system passed the test, landing safely on the desert soil of the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground in Yuma, Ariz., after 6.5-mile trip through the atmosphere.

"We test Orion's parachutes to the extremes to ensure we have a safe system for bringing crews back to Earth on future flights, even if something goes wrong," C.J. Johnson, project manager for Orion's parachute system, said in a press release. "Orion's parachute performance is difficult to model with computers, so putting them to the test in the air helps us better evaluate and predict how the system works."

The test didn't feature the Orion capsule itself, but a model with the crew-carrying spacecraft's dimensions, weight and aerodynamics.

The real Orion craft and its now tried-and-tested parachute system will be reunited for a series of tests early next year. Beginning in 2016, the craft will undergo eight airdrops over a three-year period. If it passes those tests, it will be qualified for crewed flights.

NASA's Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, called Orion or Orion MPCV, for short, is being designed with long-distance space travel in mind. Though the four-man capsule may initially ferry astronauts to and from the space station, NASA hopes the craft will eventually spearhead missions to explore asteroids and, ultimately, Mars.

 

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Orion_parachutes_pass_failure_test_999.html

/s...For those of us contemplating designing a personal capsule at home.....plywood and styrofoam ....no.....duct tape...still good....:D

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Draggendrop    5,747

NASA Concludes Series of Engine Tests for Next-Gen Rocket

WASHINGTONAug. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA has completed the first developmental test series on the RS-25 engines that will power the agency's new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on missions deeper into space than ever before.

The test series wrapped up Thursday with a seventh hot fire test of a developmental RS-25 engine on the A-1 Test Stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The test ran for a full-duration 535 seconds.

"The completion of this test series is an important step in getting SLS ready for the journey to Mars," said Steve Wofford, engines manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where the SLS Program is managed for the agency. "The RS-25 engine gives SLS a proven, high performance, affordable main propulsion system. It is one of the most experienced large rocket engines in the world, with more than a million seconds of ground test and flight operations time."

The series was designed to collect valuable data on performance of the RS-25 engine, a former space shuttle main engine operating at higher thrust levels in order to provide the power needed for the SLS vehicle. Of particular interest is data that will aid in development of a new engine controller, or "brain," to monitor engine status and communicate programmed performance needs.

"These are extremely reliable engines. We are testing them again because we want to ensure that the engine performs as required with a new engine controller, higher propellant inlet pressures and lower temperatures that are part of the SLS design. We also want to mitigate any risks on the ground before flight," Wofford said.

Four RS-25 engines will help power the SLS core stage during launch. Firing simultaneously at 109 percent of its operating level, the engines will provide approximately 2 million pounds of thrust. The engines will operate in conjunction with a pair of five-segment solid rocket boosters for a total of 8.4 million pounds of thrust to lift the initial 70-metric-ton (77-ton) SLS off the launch pad. The SLS eventually will evolve to a 130-metric-ton (143-ton) configuration that will enable missions to such deep space destinations as an asteroid and Mars.

Testing of RS-25 flight engines for the initial SLS missions will begin at Stennis this fall. In addition to testing RS-25 flight engines, Stennis operators will employ their collective expertise to test the SLS core stage. The B-2 Test Stand at Stennis is being renovated to conduct tests on the SLS flight core stage prior to its first uncrewed mission. That testing will involve installing the flight stage on the stand and firing itsfour RS-25 engines simultaneously, just as during an actual launch.

"What a great time to be at Stennis," Center Director Rick Gilbrech said. "When it comes to powering the future of the deep space exploration program for this country, this is the front lines, where we enable those missions to fly."

The developmental tests began with a Jan. 9 hot fire and resumed in May after scheduled work was completed on the high-pressure industrial water system that provides the thousands of gallons of water needed during an engine test. Aerojet Rocketdyne of Sacramento, California, is the prime contractor for the RS-25 engine work.

"This was a great test series for Stennis," said Ronnie Rigney, RS-25 project manager at Stennis. "Our teams built up a lot of history with space shuttle main engines and were able to use that expertise to meet very challenging test specifications for the RS-25. The testing done here will help ensure the engines perform as needed during actual SLS missions."

 

 http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/prnewswire-space-news.html?doc=201508271802PR_NEWS_USPR_____DC88765&showRelease=1&dir=0&categories=AEROSPACE-AND-SPACE-EXPLORATION&andorquestion=OR&&passDir=0,1,2,3,4,5,6,15,17,34

Cheers....:)

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Draggendrop    5,747

Orion EFT-1 Crew Module Arrives in Colorado

 

ooOrionEFT-1_004.thumb.jpg.827df1ec345c4
EFT-1 Crew Module        ©LOCKHEED MARTIN

The Orion crew module flown 3,600 miles into space during Exploration Flight Test-1 has arrived to the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company headquarters in Littleton, Colorado.

While in Colorado, engineers will perform final decontamination on the crew module, will continue post-flight analysis of select components, and will evaluate a new acoustic technology called Direct Field Acoustic (DFA) testing. The evaluation of DFA testing will determine if the method can produce enough energy to simulate the acoustic loads Orion will experience during launch and ascent on the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

Test highlights:

- Customized, high-energy speakers use a specific algorithm to control how much energy reaches the vehicle.

- The speakers will be configured in a circle around the vehicle.

- The amount of speakers needed for the test will fill up three tractor-trailers.

- The testing is expected to conclude in early 2016.

If the method proves to be an accurate representation of SLS launch and ascent acoustic loads, it will be used to evaluate and verify Orion's ability to withstand those loads during its next mission, Exploration Mission-1.

 

 http://spaceref.biz/company/orion-eft-1-crew-module-arrives-in-colorado.html

vd54b466e3.thumb.jpg.5d1f1c64f3eb3ece883

:/

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

Yeah, that's about the sum of it. No pun intended.

*sigh* What a waste.

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Draggendrop    5,747

Although it is hindsight, if NASA had just worked on the capsule, and invested in commercial crew and their lifters, we'd be much further ahead now. We really need science people in congress and the house.....yes......I know it's a wild dream..... :/

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Draggendrop    5,747

Welding Process for Next Orion Spacecraft Begins

New Manufacturing Approach Sheds 700 Pounds from Crew Module

NEW ORLEANSSept. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and NASA engineers have successfully welded the Orion spacecraft's tunnel and forward bulkhead together. The tunnel is the passageway astronauts crawl in and out of when Orion is docked with another vehicle. The forward bulkhead, located at the top of the crew module, must handle extreme loads during re-entry because that is where the parachutes are connected when they deploy.

"After going through the manufacturing process for the Exploration Flight Test-1 vehicle, we determined we could reduce the vehicle's weight if we lessened the number of pieces being welded together since those welded areas weigh more," said Mike Hawes, Lockheed Martin Orion vice president and program manager. "So for this next spacecraft, seven bigger pieces are coming together, instead of the eighteen for EFT-1, which makes the welding process a little more challenging than before."

In order to certify the new welding process, the team at Michoud Assembly Facility welded a pathfinder vehicle to verify the design changes and welding changes would perform as expected.

"We used the pathfinder to make sure we weren't being too ambitious with our design changes," said Hawes. "It allowed us to verify the process would work before we used it on actual flight hardware."

In early 2016, once the pieces that make up the crew module's pressure vessel are welded together, it will be shipped to the Operations and Checkout Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. There it will undergo final assembly, integration and testing in order to prepare for Exploration Mission-1 when Orion is launched atop NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) for the first time. The test flight will send Orion into lunar distant retrograde orbit—a wide orbit around the moon that is farther from Earth than any human-rated spacecraft has ever traveled. The mission will last more than 20 days and will certify the design and safety of Orion and SLS for human-rated exploration missions.

 

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/prnewswire-space-news.html?rkey=20150908SF96096&filter=1639

of note...

 The test flight will send Orion into lunar distant retrograde orbit—a wide orbit around the moon that is farther from Earth than any human-rated spacecraft has ever traveled.

 

I wonder if SpaceX has any plans to test orbit Dragen2 around the moon and back...if so...they could make the above statement "void"....... :woot:

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DocM    16,615

FWIW, that 700 lbs (317.5 kg) is a fraction of the weight Orion has to shed to meet its mass targets. Last I heard it was +15% overweight.

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Draggendrop    5,747

This puppy is heavy.

I just checked the NASA Orion quick facts pdf....few years old (2011)

http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/2011-12-058-jsc_orion_quickfacts(2).pdf

Crew module and service module at 50,000 lbs...not counting escape tower

And according to this review...not a lot of reuseability....even the re-entry coating is questionable...

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2743/1

ouch!...........

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

Yep. The spacecraft was supposed to be reuseable, but early on the design itself didn't lend much to that purpose. One can tell just by looking whether it is or not, and one can also tell if it would require a major rehab to get it spaceworthy again.

This spacecraft is overweight. We already know that. They're trying to shed weight where possible, and that's dangerous because it introduces failure points that didn't exist before. Chances are they won't be as thorough with testing as they were when they first designed the spaceframe.

They've designed and tested all of the systems (Recovery, RCS, Guidance and Safety for example) at a specific craft weight, center of mass, flight characteristics, etc. Now all of those systems will need to be updated to reflect those changes. Want to know what happens when an RCS is used on a craft that is too light relative to it? Bad things happen. We get over-maneuvering. That RCS ends up being way too powerful; and instead of a nice, gentle maneuver we get Soyuz tumbling side-over-side and a Flight Computer that can't do anything about it, and a Crew who have passed out because the roll exceeded what the limits of the human body where. So yeah, it's a bad thing. Shedding weight from a spacecraft seems like a great idea, and usually it is, but the Engineers need to be aware that the entire craft needs to be rechecked and adjusted to compensate, systems included.

Sorry if I'm pratting on -- I'm tired.

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Draggendrop    5,747

I did a quick search for an SLS thread.......then I thought, Why am I even searching for an SLS thread. The more I read about it....the subject is leaning towards boarder line science discussion and/or real world news debate. I keep seeing "unreliable dates", major indecisions and constant forays for increased funding. I'll just pluck another "one of those articles" here, for kicks and giggles.....just when you think that a situation cannot get dumber....

Decision looms on when to introduce new SLS upper stage 

boeing_eus.thumb.png.6fbc69bf3a0d8c3f870
Artist’s concept of the Space Launch System’s upgraded upper stage with four RL10 engines. NASA officials want to introduce the new upper stage on the first crewed SLS launch in 2021, if budgets allow. Credit: Boeing

NASA officials are waiting to see if Congress adds funding to the agency’s budget next year to kick-start development of a new four-engine upper stage for the Space Launch System, an upgrade that would allow the mega-rocket to loft heavier cargoes into deep space.

The new rocket component, called the Exploration Upper Stage, could be developed in time for the Space Launch System’s second flight in 2021, which will be the first time the launcher will carry a crew inside an Orion capsule.

 

The rest of this "informative article" is at the link....Read at your own risk......

 http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/09/08/decision-looms-on-when-to-introduce-new-sls-upper-stage/

Later.....:)

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DocM    16,615

Exploration Upper Stage would likely leverage tech and experience from Vulcan's Boeing ACES upper stage - if it ever gets built given the whole Aerojet/ULA acquisition drama. Jeezzzz....what a soap opera.

I'm gonna need a whole truck full of popcorn & Mexican beer.

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Draggendrop    5,747

Construction Begins on Test Version of Important Connection for SLS

 

elg_4107_2sss.thumb.jpg.fdd3aac0015a9390
Marshall crew members prepare to install a LVSA structural test article panel onto the weld fixture. Image courtesy NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given.

Strong connection points between the stages of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) - the agency's advanced launch vehicle for exploration beyond Earth's orbit into deep space - are essential to ensure that the rocket will withstand the loads it may experience during flight. The Launch Vehicle Stage Adapter, or LVSA, plays an important role in connecting two major sections of the rocket - the core stage and the upper stage.

The upper stage, known as the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, gives the Orion spacecraft the big, in-space push needed to fly beyond the moon before the spacecraft returns to Earth for the first flight test of SLS. The Orion spacecraft is connected to the upper stage with the Orion Stage Adapter.

Welding of the major panels of a test version of the LVSA began in August at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where the agency manages the SLS program.

 

Marshall engineers, in close partnership with prime contractor Teledyne Brown Engineering of Huntsville, are applying friction-stir-welding capabilities and equipment. The friction-stir-welding process joins large pieces of the LVSA by stirring their edges together without completely melting the metal, resulting in a stronger weld than in standard welding practices. The Marshall weld team also developed an innovative modular tooling concept, which can make different size adapters using the same machinery - reducing costs and build time.

"We are starting to see the test version of the LVSA take shape," said Brent Gaddes, adapter manager for SLS. "This is a unique structure, which presents some challenges due to its large size and conical shape. However, we have a very capable team, both with Marshall and Teledyne Brown, and are building on our experience with the stage adapter that was used on Orion's first test flight in 2014."

Engineers have already completed structural test articles of the Orion stage adapter, core stage simulator and Orion spacecraft simulator. A test article for the interim cryogenic propulsion stage is currently in production at United Launch Alliance in Decatur, Alabama. When the test versions of all the parts are completed, engineers will stack them and move the 56-foot tall structure to a Marshall test stand for testing to verify the integrity of the hardware and ensure it can withstand the loads it may experience during flight.

The first flight test of the SLS will feature a Block I configuration for a 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit to test the performance of the integrated system. As the SLS evolves, it will provide an unprecedented lift capability of 130 metric tons (143 tons) to enable missions even farther into our solar system.

 

 

 http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Construction_Begins_on_Test_Version_of_Important_Connection_for_SLS_999.html

:)

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Draggendrop    5,747

TELECON: NASA Updates Orion Progress After Key Review Completed   

16 September, 2015

Video, full, 47:50 min

 

First Crewed Orion Mission May Slip to 2023

OrionATV_ESA-879x485.thumb.jpg.454f779ff
The first Orion spacecraft to carry a crew may not launch until April 2023, more than 18 months later than previously planned. Credit: ESA/D. Ducros

WASHINGTON — The first flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft with people on board could be delayed by more than a year to early 2023, agency officials said Sept. 16.

NASA announced that the Orion program had achieved a milestone known as Key Decision Point C (KDP-C), completing a technical and programmatic review of the spacecraft designed to carry astronauts beyond Earth orbit. That review was similar to one completed by Orion’s launch vehicle, the Space Launch System, in August 2014.

The KDP-C review found that there is a 70-percent chance Orion will be ready for its first crewed mission, Exploration Mission 2 (EM-2), no later than April 2023. The review also set a cost baseline for Orion from October 2015 through EM-2 of $6.77 billion. That figure excludes the funding spent on Orion to date, including several billion dollars during the Constellation program prior to its 2010 cancellation.

 

The April 2023 date is a delay of more than 18 months from the earlier target date of August 2021. NASA is keeping that 2021 date as an “aggressive” internal goal for that mission, even while acknowledging the chance of being ready to fly then is low.

“I’ve asked the team to keep working towards the August 2021 date,” NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a call with reporters. “They’re planning for that and working to that date, recognizing that we have a much lower confidence in that date.” He said NASA did not calculate a specific confidence level for August 2021, but admitted that “it’s not a very high confidence level.”

There was no specific issue with Orion’s development that is causing the delay, and both Lightfoot and William Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, praised the program for the progress it has made. Instead, they believe that “unknown unknowns” will occur during the development of the vehicle, based on experience with past programs, that will cause the schedule to slip.

Lightfoot specifically mentioned potential issues reusing hardware developed for testing of Orion, construction of a structural test article, and software development as all key areas that could take longer than currently anticipated. “Right now we’re not seeing issues in those areas, but we have to account for those because we have a lot of runway in front of us,” he said.

 

One example of potential slips Gerstenmaier mentioned was the redesign of panels that form the conical portion of Orion. NASA decided to reduce the number of panels to reduce weight and save production time. Instead, the panels, now larger than in earlier designs, have become harder to handle because they tend to “unbend” from their desired curved shape.

“If you look at the complexity of what we’re doing in building this spacecraft, there will be some unknowns that show up,” Gerstenmaier said. “To protect for those, we went with the later date of 2023.”

The likely delay of EM-2 will not affect the first, uncrewed flight of Orion on SLS, designated EM-1 and tentatively scheduled for the fall of 2018. Lightfoot said a formal date for the mission will be made after the SLS and Orion programs, as well as associated ground systems, complete separate critical design reviews by the end of this year. “There’s nothing right now that gives us any indication different from the fall of ’18 for everybody being ready,” he said.

Lightfoot said the KDP-C cost and schedule estimates were based on the Obama administration’s budget projections. However, Congress has added funding to Orion in the past: NASA requested $1.053 billion for Orion in its fiscal year 2015 budget proposal, but Congress appropriated $1.194 billion for the program in the final 2015 omnibus spending bill.

Lightfoot said additional funding could accelerate Orion’s schedule, but did not specify by how much when asked about it at the briefing. He added that it also depends when the funding shows up. “I can’t get it all in the last year,” he said.

 

http://spacenews.com/first-crewed-orion-mission-may-slip-to-2023/

another similar article....

http://www.space.com/30560-nasa-orion-space-capsule-crewed-launch-delay.html

---------------------------------------------------

Smith Condemns Administration’s Space Exploration Delays

Press Release From: House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology 
Posted: Wednesday, September 16, 2015

 

Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement in response to an announcement that NASA will be forced to delay the development of the Orion crew vehicle. Last year the administration also delayed the development of the Space Launch System. Both of these systems are being developed for deep space human exploration.

Chairman Lamar Smith: “Once again, the Obama administration is choosing to delay deep space exploration priorities such as Orion and the Space Launch System that will take U.S. astronauts to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.  While this administration has consistently cut funding for these programs and delayed their development, Congress has consistently restored funding as part of our commitment to maintaining American leadership in space. We must chart a compelling course for our nation’s space program so that we can continue to inspire future generations of scientists, engineers and explorers.  I urge this administration to follow the lead of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s NASA Authorization Act to fully fund NASA’s exploration programs.”

NASA announced today that its schedule for the first crewed mission of SLS and Orion will slip to 2023; this represents a two year slip from previous plans for the first mission by 2021. The agency announced similar delays last fall. Smith has repeatedly criticized the Obama administration for failure to request adequate funding for Orion and the Space Launch System; the administration’s FY16 budget request proposed cuts of more than $440 million for the programs.

The House Science Committee’s NASA Authorization Act for 2016 and 2017 sought to restore $440 million to these crucial programs being developed to return U.S. astronauts to deep space destinations such as the Moon and Mars. That bill also restored funding for planetary science accounts that have been responsible for missions such as the recent Pluto fly-by, and provided full funding for the other space exploration programs such as Commercial Crew and Commercial Cargo programs.   

 

// end //

 

http://spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=46857

:s

 

 

 

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DocM    16,615

More like 2024 IMO. This program is circling the Dr rain, and the day BFR/MCT cuts metal its death rattle begins.

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Draggendrop    5,747

More like 2024 IMO. This program is circling the Dr rain, and the day BFR/MCT cuts metal its death rattle begins.

And in the meantime, Dragon 2 will have been hauling people around for 6 to 7 years. Both Dragons will have been working the ISS and probably a few side ventures. When the Orion capsule actually has people inside it, the average person will probably shake their head at it's announcement and I am sure the MSM will have fun too.......I would hate to price it to the pound, for cost...could have launched a solid gold capsule.

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