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NASA Spacecraft Hardware Is Ready For Pressure Testing In Preparation For Orion’s Launch

October 22, 2013
Image Caption: The Orion's stage adapter diaphragm leaves a manufacturing facility at Janicki Industries in Hamilton, Wash., to be trucked to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Credit: Janicki Industries

NASA

The design and fabrication of critical flight hardware that will be used to keep NASA’s Orion spacecraft safe during launch was recently completed at Janicki Industries in Hamilton, Wash. The hardware arrived Sept. 26 at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. for final preparations before Orion’s first mission planned for September 2014.

Orion’s stage adapter diaphragm serves as a barrier between the upper-stage of the launch vehicle and the spacecraft, preventing hydrogen gas build up from the rocket beneath the spacecraft before and during launch.

“The close relationship between NASA and Janicki Industries on the diaphragm enables us to optimize performance, mass and even take advantage of some cost savings in the process,” said Kevin Rivers, Orion Launch Abort System project manager.

The diaphragm, a light-weight composite structure, was designed by a team of engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., in close collaboration with Marshall. The component is an integral part of the stage adapter that will connect Orion to a Delta IV Heavy rocket during its first mission, Exploration Flight Test-1, and on the first launch of NASA’s Space Launch System in 2017.

The diaphragm will undergo pressurized testing at Marshall before being integrated with the spacecraft’s stage adapter – certifying it for flight conditions.

EFT-1 will send an Orion spacecraft 3,600 miles above the Earth’s surface, 15 times farther away than the International Space Station. During the 2014 test, Orion will return to Earth at a speed of about 20,000 mph, faster than any current spacecraft capable of carrying humans.

SLS will provide an entirely new capability for human exploration beyond Earth orbit. Designed to be flexible for crew or cargo missions, the SLS will be safe, affordable, and sustainable, to continue America’s journey of discovery from the unique vantage point of space. SLS is a rocket that can carry the Orion spacecraft’s crew, equipment and experiments to places we’ve never been before in our solar system.

To learn more about Orion’s stage adapter diaphragm, visit: http://tinyurl.com/ke2qayr

To learn more about Orion and EFT-1, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/mpcv/index.html

To learn more about SLS, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/index.html

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Source: Kim Henry, Marshall Space Flight Center



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