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Old 08-13-2012, 10:30 AM   #46
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NASASpaceflight: NASA’s EFT-1 Orion into 17 months of outfitting at KSC
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:15 PM   #47
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SPACE.com: New NASA Spaceship Comes Together for 2014 Test Launch
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Old 11-08-2012, 12:09 AM   #48
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NASASpaceflight: EFT-1 September, 2014 launch date “paced” by the Delta IV-H
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:59 PM   #49
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Space News: Cracks Discovered in First Space-bound Orion Capsule:
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WASHINGTON — NASA’s first orbital flight-model Orion crew capsule will have to be repaired before its planned 2014 debut after its aft bulkhead cracked during recent pressure testing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a NASA spokeswoman said Nov. 19.

The cracks were discovered during a proof pressure test the week of Nov. 12. Proof testing, in which a pressure vessel is subject to stresses greater than those it is expected to encounter during routine use, is one of the many pre-flight tests NASA is performing on Orion to certify the craft is safe for astronauts, agency spokeswoman Rachel Kraft said.

“The cracks are in three adjacent, radial ribs of this integrally machined, aluminum bulkhead,” Kraft wrote in an email. “This hardware will be repaired and will not need to be remanufactured.”

{...}

Cracking occurred when the pressure inside the Orion module reached about 149 kilopascals, or 21.6 pounds per square inch, Kraft said. To pass the proof test, the Orion pressure module has to withstand about 164 kilopascals, which is roughly 1.5 times the maximum stress the capsule is expected to encounter during missions, she said. Increasing the pressure inside the craft in an ambient environment of 1 atmosphere -- air pressure at sea level -- effectively simulates the conditions Orion would encounter in a vacuum.

William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, speculated that a beam affixed to the bulkhead’s cracked ribs by a pair of bolts “may have been a little stiffer than some of the models portrayed.”

To figure out what went wrong, “we’ll actually cut out these cracks [from the bulkhead] and then we’ll do a scan with an electron microscope,” Gerstenmaier told members of the NASA Advisory Council’s Human Exploration and Operations Committee here. The group, which makes policy recommendations for NASA managers met here Nov. 15.

A team of Lockheed Martin engineers will perform the post-test investigation. NASA is evaluating what effect, if any, the incident will have on the Orion’s scheduled late-2014 debut, designed to test essential systems on the vehicle including its heat shield and avionics, Kraft said.

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Old 11-23-2012, 07:35 PM   #50
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Cracks discovered in Orion capsule's pressure shell
BY STEPHEN CLARK
SPACEFLIGHT NOW

Posted: November 23, 2012



Three cracks appeared in NASA's first space-bound Orion crew exploration vehicle during a proof pressure test this month, according to agency officials, but the anomaly and anticipated repairs are not expected to impact the schedule for the capsule's first orbital test flight in late 2014.


Photo of one of three cracks on radial ribs on Orion's aft bulkhead. Credit: NASA

The cracks materialized in the aft bulkhead on the lower half of the Orion multipurpose crew vehicle during a proof pressure test at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in mid-November, according to Joshua Buck, a NASA spokesperson.

"The cracks are in three adjacent, radial ribs of this integrally machined, aluminum bulkhead," Buck said. "The cracks did not penetrate the pressure vessel skin, and the structure was holding pressure after the anomaly occurred."

Engineers will scan the cracks with an electron microscope to investigate the cause, said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator of NASA's human exploration and operations mission directorate, in a presentation to a NASA Advisory Council subcommittee.

According to Buck, "the intent is diagnose root cause and repair the cracks in time to support a second scheduled window for loads testing early next year."

Since the Orion spacecraft's pressure vessel arrived at Kennedy Space Center in late June, technicians have continued assembly of the crew module and finished the first proof pressure test, which was designed to validate engineering models and verify the Orion pressure shell's structural integrity.


The Orion pressure shell enters a chamber for pressure testing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

During the proof pressure test, engineers pumped air into the crew module to check the structure's ability to hold pressure against the ambient atmosphere at sea level. The test simulates what the spacecraft will see in space, when it must hold pressure against a vacuum.

Cracks have occurred during pressure tests of other spacecraft, including a Russian Soyuz capsule's descent module, which was damaged in a prelaunch test in January. Russia scrapped the module and delayed the launch of three space station astronauts until a replacement was ready.

The schedule calls for installation of Orion's attitude control thrusters, parachutes, avionics and heat shield in the first half of 2013 before the crew capsule is attached to a mock-up service module.

Lockheed Martin Corp., the Orion capsule's prime contractor, is in charge of the 2014 mission, known as Exploration Flight Test-1. The company will oversee the flight in partnership with NASA, which will receive post-flight data.

A United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket will launch the capsule from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., into an elliptical orbit reaching 3,600 miles above Earth. From there, the the Orion will dive back into Earth's atmosphere at more than 20,000 mph, giving engineers key data on how the spacecraft responds to a re-entry at speeds nearly replicating what the capsule will see when returning from deep space missions to the moon, asteroids and other destinations.


Artist's concept of the Orion spacecraft and the Delta 4 rocket's upper stage on the EFT-1 flight test. Credit: NASA

The uncrewed multi-hour flight is scheduled to launch in September 2014, and Buck said NASA does not expect the crack issue to affect the launch date, which is driven by the availability of Orion's Delta 4 launcher in ULA's manifest, according to NASA officials. NASA and Lockheed Martin aim to have the Orion crew vehicle and a structural mock-up of its service module ready for launch operations by December 2013.

After splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, crews will recover the Orion crew vehicle and outfit the capsule for an ascent abort test.

NASA's Space Launch System, a heavy-lift rocket derived from the space shuttle, will launch the second Orion space mission in late 2017 on a flyby around the moon.

The first Orion mission with astronauts is set to fly on the second Space Launch System flight in 2021 to a high-altitude orbit around the moon.
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:31 PM   #51
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All part of R&D, what isn't broken now will eventually break in the future. Better for it to be on the ground in testing than in space.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:50 PM   #52
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Aviation Week: NASA Says Orion Cracks Will Not Delay Debut
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:52 PM   #53
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NASA News Release:
RELEASE : 12-435
NASA Progressing Toward First Launch of Orion Spacecraft


Dec. 13, 2012

WASHINGTON -- Recent engineering advances by NASA and its industry partners across the country show important progress toward Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), the next step to launching humans to deep space. The uncrewed EFT-1 mission, launching from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2014, will test the re-entry performance of the agency's Orion capsule, the most advanced spacecraft ever designed, which will carry astronauts farther into space than ever before.

"These recent milestones are laying the foundation for our first flight test of Orion in 2014," said Dan Dumbacher, deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "The work being done to prepare for the flight test is really a nationwide effort and we have a dedicated team committed to our goal of expanding the frontier of space."

A tool that will allow the titanium skeleton of the Orion heat shield to be bolted to its carbon fiber skin is at the Denver facility of the spacecraft's prime contractor Lockheed Martin. This will enable workers to begin assembling the two pieces of the heat shield. Almost 3,000 bolts are needed to hold the skeleton to the skin. A special stand was built to align the skin on the skeleton as holes for the bolts are drilled. Work to bolt the skeleton to the skin will be completed in January. The heat shield then will be shipped to Textron Defense Systems near Boston where the final layer, an ablative material very similar to that used on the Apollo spacecraft, will be added. The completed heat shield is scheduled to be ready for installation onto the Orion crew module at Kennedy next summer.

To test the heat shield during EFT-1's re-entry, Orion will travel more than 3,600 miles above Earth's surface, 15 times farther than the International Space Station's orbital position. This is farther than any spacecraft designed to carry humans has gone in more than 40 years. Orion will return home at a speed almost 5,000 mph faster than any current human spacecraft.

This week, engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., received materials to begin manufacturing the adapter that will connect the Orion capsule to a United Launch Alliance Delta IV heavy-lift rocket for EFT-1. Two forward and two aft rings will be welded to barrel panels to form two adapters. This adapter design will be tested during EFT-1 for use during the first launch of NASA's next heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), in 2017. SLS will launch NASA's Orion spacecraft and other payloads beyond low Earth orbit, providing an entirely new capability for human exploration.

Data from the adapter on the flight test will provide Marshall engineers with invaluable experience developing hardware early in the design process. Designing the adapter once for multiple flights also provides a cost savings.

Of the two adapters welded at Marshall, one will attach Orion to the Delta IV heavy-lift rocket used for EFT-1. The other adapter will be a structural test article to gain knowledge on the design.

NASA's Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) Program also has passed a major agency review that lays the groundwork at Kennedy to support future Orion and SLS launches. The GSDO Program completed a combined system requirements review and system definition review, in which an independent board of technical experts from across NASA evaluated the program's infrastructure specifications, budget and schedule. The board confirmed GSDO is ready to move from concept development to preliminary design. The combination of the two assessments represents a fundamentally different way of conducting NASA program reviews. The team is streamlining processes to provide the nation with a safe, affordable and sustainable launch facility.

The GSDO program last week also led the third Stationary Recovery Test Working Group session in Norfolk, Va. The team presented to the U.S. Navy detachment that will recover the capsule during EFT-1 a complete list of tasks required to accomplish stationary recovery test objectives. The working group outlined the plan for roles and responsibilities to accomplish required test procedures. Included in these presentations were the commanding officer of the USS Mesa Verde and the fleet forces command director of operations, who both expressed complete support for the test.

{...}




Science Daily: NASA Progressing Toward First Launch of Orion Spacecraft

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Old 12-17-2012, 03:56 PM   #54
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Parts for the first test flight of the Orion spacecraft were delivered to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. See where they will go next! (NASA/MSFC)
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:06 PM   #55
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NASA News Release: MEDIA ADVISORY : M13-020 - NASA Invites Media To View Ongoing Orion And Testing Work At Kennedy Jan. 30

Parabolic Arc: NASA, Private Companies Team Up for Orion Work
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:28 AM   #56
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:47 PM   #57
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NASASpaceflight: Orion processing heats up ahead of EFT-1 mission
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:29 PM   #58
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ATK News Release:
ATK Delivers Inert Launch Abort Motor for Orion Spacecraft Exploration Flight Test 1

Launch Abort Motor Designed for Crew Safety

Feb 21, 2013

ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ATK (NYSE: ATK) successfully delivered a launch abort motor to Kennedy Space Center, Fla., for Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1) of NASA's Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, scheduled to fly next year. The test flight abort motor is configured with inert propellant, since the EFT-1 mission will have no crew on board, but otherwise replicates the launch abort system that will ensure astronaut safety on future crewed Orion exploration missions using the new Space Launch System (SLS).

ATK's abort motor is part of Orion's Launch Abort System (LAS), which is designed to safely pull the Orion crew module away from the launch vehicle in the event of an emergency on the launch pad or during the initial ascent of NASA's SLS. Although an abort event is not necessary for the un-crewed mission, having an inert abort motor in the LAS stack for EFT-1 helps NASA achieve its goals simulating the same weight, structure and aerodynamics of the live motor configuration.

"Our launch abort motor is critical to ensuring safety, allowing for a greater reduction in risks for crewed flights," said Charlie Precourt, ATK vice president and general manager of the Space Launch Division. "ATK is proud to be a part of the Orion EFT-1 team. This is an important milestone for America's new human exploration program, which includes Orion and the Space Launch System, with a heavy-lift capability to take crew and cargo on missions to the moon, asteroids and eventually Mars."

Successfully ground-tested in 2008 and flight-tested during Orion's Pad Abort test in 2010, the launch abort motor is more than 17 feet tall, measures three feet in diameter, and includes a revolutionary turn-flow rocket manifold technology. Two additional flight tests are scheduled for SLS, prior to the manned flight planned for 2020.

The launch abort motor was manufactured in 2008 as an inert pathfinder and has been modified at ATK's Bacchus, Promontory, and Clearfield, Utah, facilities to meet the needs of EFT-1. It was also instrumented to collect environmental and flight data during the test launch.

ATK also makes the Attitude Control Motor for the abort system at its Elkton, Md., facility. The control motor provides steering for the launch abort vehicle during an abort sequence.

{...}




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NASASpaceflight: ATK Launch Abort hardware arrives at KSC ahead of EFT-1
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:56 AM   #59
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Parabolic Arc: Aerojet Ships Key Components for First Orion Test Flight
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SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 25, 2013 (Aerojet PR) – Aerojet, a GenCorp company, announced today that it successfully completed fabrication of the jettison motor and recently shipped the first two Crew Module Reaction Control System (CM RCS) pod assemblies for NASA’s Orion spacecraft’s Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1).

Aerojet’s jettison motor will be the only active motor on the Launch Abort System (LAS) during the uncrewed EFT-1 flight, scheduled for 2014, and is required to jettison the LAS away from the Orion crew capsule during the flight test’s early ascent phase. EFT-1 will take Orion beyond low Earth orbit, to an altitude of about 3,600 miles over the Earth’s surface, more than 15 times farther away than the International Space Station.

“We are pleased to complete the EFT-1 flight jettison motor ahead of schedule and under budget,” said Aerojet Vice President, Space & Launch Systems, Julie Van Kleeck. “Aerojet’s jettison motor represents the next generation in launch abort system technology. Our team has taken the Apollo-era launch abort motor design and significantly advanced it through the application of modern propellants, materials and innovative design features.”

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Old 03-01-2013, 12:44 AM   #60
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NASA: NASA On Course to Launch Orion Flight Test

AmericaSpace: EFT-1 Orion Comes Alive at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
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