- Oct 30, 2009
- Reaction score
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- More than 450 guests at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida welcomed the arrival of the agency's first space-bound Orion spacecraft Monday, marking a major milestone in the construction of the vehicle that will carry astronauts farther into space than ever before.
CAPE CANAVERAL -- Production work on NASA's first space-bound Orion spacecraft is beginning at Kennedy Space Center and manufacturer Lockheed Martin is on track for a first flight test in 2014, a company official said today.
James Kemp, Lockheed Martin's senior Orion production manager at KSC, told a crowd of about 200 people, that about four months of production work is beginning at the Operations and Checkout Building at KSC.
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.
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)
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.”