EXPLORATION SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT
COMBINED MONTHLY REPORT March 2019
Orion: Liftoff to Splashdown: Orion Is Safe SLS: A New Era of Space Exploration
EGS: CSITU Swing Arm Prep
4 Liftoff to Splashdown: Orion Is Safe 6 Fit To Fly 7 AA-2, Realigned 8 Supplier Spotlight: Honeybee Electronics
SPACE LAUNCH SYSTEM
10 A New Era of Space Exploration 11 SLS Engine Section Coming Together 12 What’s New in SLS Social Media 12 Rocket Science in 60 Seconds 13 RS-25 Engine Test Prep 14 Julie Bassler Is the Manager of the SLS Stages Office 14 Spaceflight Partners: Wildwood Electronics, Inc.
EXPLORATION GROUND SYSTEMS
17 Moon to Mars 18 Crawler-Transporter 2 Gets Engine Maintenance in Prep for Exploration Mission-1 19 Exploration Ground Systems Gears Up for Exploration Mission-1 22 EGS Outreach on the Move 22 Outreach in the Virgin Islands ORION MARCH 2019
Liftoff to Splashdown: Orion is Safe Two key tests in March helped ensure NASA’s Orion spacecraft is safe from liftoff to splashdown for missions to the Moon. LIFTOFF TO SPLASHDOWN: ORION IS SAFE
Engineers completed two key tests the week of March pounds of thrust from eight valves. This test was the first 18 to help ensure NASA’s Orion spacecraft is ready from in a series of evaluations aimed at qualifying the attitude liftoff to splashdown for missions to the Moon. Teams control motor for crewed missions. successfully tested one of the motors on Orion’s Launch Abort System responsible for taking the crew to safety in an Orion’s launch abort system is positioned on top of the crew emergency during launch, and completed testing at sea for module and is designed to protect astronauts during their the qualification of the system used to upright Orion after it trip to space. It can activate within milliseconds to pull the lands in the ocean. crew module to safety if needed. It consists of three solid rocket motors: the abort motor that pulls the crew module At its facility in Elkton, Maryland, Northrop Grumman away from a rocket, the attitude control motor that can hot fired a motor for Orion’s launch abort system. The steer Orion in any direction upon command, and the jettison attitude control motor is responsible for orienting the crew motor that ignites to separate the launch abort system from module for landing in the event that Orion’s ride to space the spacecraft so that Orion is free to deploy its parachutes experiences a failure during launch or ascent. The motor to assist with landing. is essential because it helps stabilize Orion and control its trajectory as it moves away from the rocket. During Ensuring crew safety continues throughout the mission, the 30-second test, the motor produced more than 7,000 including systems used to assist with returning astronauts
4 ESD Combined Report March 2019 to land. Off the coast of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, if one of the airbags failed to inflate, the CMUS would still engineers tested the crew module uprighting system be able to perform as intended. (CMUS) to ensure the capsule can be oriented right-side up once it returns from its deep space missions. The system was previously tested in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, a giant pool at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in When Orion splashes down in the ocean, it can settle in one Houston, primarily used for astronaut training, as well as off of two positions. In the most ideal scenario, the capsule is the coast of Galveston, Texas. Engineers also wanted to test oriented with the heat shield in the water and its windows the uprighting system in more challenging waves, similar to and hatches out of the water. The crew module also could those where Orion is expected to land, and partnered with land with the top submerged in the water, and the heat the Coast Guard to test the CMUS in the Atlantic Ocean. shield facing the sky. The CMUS deploys a series of five, bright orange airbags to flip the capsule right side up in Engineers experimented with four different CMUS the event the Orion lands upside down. It takes less than configurations over several days of testing. These tests four minutes for the system to upright the capsule to help verified the system’s ability to perform in varying wave protect the astronauts inside that are returning home from conditions, and demonstrated how the CMUS would protect future deep space missions. the crew in a wide range of landing scenarios. With the success of both tests, the Orion team is well on its way to In a perfect post-mission landing situation, all five of Orion’s verify Orion is ready for missions to the Moon and beyond. airbags will deploy to reorient the capsule, and while this is the most likely scenario for capsule recovery, NASA aims to Watch the ACM Hot Fire Facebook Live Here: be ready for any situation. Several tests performed with a bit.ly/ACM_Mar19Test mockup of the Orion crew capsule demonstrated that even FIT TO FLY
Preparing for Orion’s crew and service modules leaving Florida for testing in Ohio, NASA’s Super Guppy aircraft underwent a fit check of the Orion crew and service module horizontal transport (CHT). At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida, Space Florida operated the test to ensure transportation planning was correctly moving forward. The Super Guppy’s payload bay lay open as the CHT was moved inside, secured on the U.S. Air Force aircraft loader. This fit check was performed to confirm the procedure of loading operations, ensure that the CHT fit inside the Super Guppy with adequate space, and to test the needed aircraft interface to aircraft power. The Orion crew and service modules, which will be mated at the time, will be transported to NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio, for full thermal vacuum testing. In this unique facility, the crew and service modules will be put through extensive testing to ensure they can survive the rigors of launch, space travel, re-entry and splashdown. AA-2, REALIGNED
The Orion team at the NASA Kennedy Space Center Launch Abort System Facility in Florida recently completed the milestones of turning the Ascent Abort-2 (AA-2) launch abort system (LAS) vertical as well as mating the LAS with the AA-2 separation ring and crew module. This moves the AA-2 team another step closer toward the June 12 flight test.
This full-stress test will see the LAS and a 22,000 pound crew module propelled on a booster to an altitude of 31,000 feet at Mach 1.15 (over 1,000 miles an hour). At that point, the LAS will begin its task of propelling the Orion crew module away from the vehicle, simulating an emergency abort of Orion. The test will verify that the LAS can steer astronauts inside the crew module to safety when the spacecraft is under the highest aerodynamics loads it will experience during ascent. SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT HONEYBEE ELECTRONICS
Headquartered in New York City, Honeybee Robotics, gearbox is part of the primary mechanism used in the Ltd. has been working with NASA since 1986. In the past, operation of the side hatch, which will allow crew members they have contributed hardware to programs such as their to manually open and close the hatch in order to enter Rock Abrasion Tool for the Mars Exploration Rovers and and egress the vehicle. Working on Orion is the first time the Sample Manipulation System on the Curiosity Rover, Honeybee will contribute their hardware and expertise to a to mention a few. However, for Orion, they developed human-rated spacecraft. They are proud to be a part of the something a little different. Honeybee is responsible for mission, as well as to have the opportunity to solve some of building Orion’s Side Hatch Gearbox Assembly. This the technical challenges associated with space travel.
FOLLOW THE PROGRESS OF HOUSTON WE HAVE A PODCAST: NASA’S NEW SPACECRAFT ENGAGING THRUSTERS FOR HUMAN EXPLORATION: In episode 84, Steve Barsi, Orion European Service Module Propulsion Subsystem manager, discusses Orion’s propulsion system, how it works and why it’s Twitter ...... Twitter.com/NASA_Orion suited for deep space travel. Facebook ...... Facebook.com/NASAOrion Listen here: https://go.nasa.gov/2FBOs1W Flickr ...... Flickr.com/NASAOrion Tumblr...... NASAOrion.tumblr.com SPACE LAUNCH SYSTEM HIGHLIGHTS MARCH 2019
“AMERICA WILL ONCE AGAIN ASTONISH THE WORLD”
www.nasa.gov A NEW ERA OF SPACE EXPLORATION
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine speaks with Marshall Space Flight Center employees during an all-hands meeting March 26.
At the National Space Council meeting March 26, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told Vice President Vice President Mike Pence announced that NASA will Pence that NASA is up to the challenge. accelerate its plans to return to the Moon, with plans to “You have given us a charge today, and it is right on time,” land astronauts on the Moon’s South Pole by 2024. Administrator Bridenstine said. “Our Agency – NASA – is “Just as the United States was the first nation to reach going to do everything in its power to meet that vision, to the Moon in the 20th century, so too will be — we’d be the meet that deadline, and you have my full commitment to first nation to return astronauts to the Moon in the twenty- achieving that.” first century,” Pence said at the council gathering, held at During his visit to Huntsville, Administrator Bridenstine the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. held a town hall meeting with Marshall employees. “At the direction of the President of the United States, it is the stated policy of this administration and the United Learn more about how NASA and SLS will return States of America to return American astronauts to the astronauts to the Moon and beyond: Moon within the next five years.” go.nasa.gov/2Uhxf72 “America will once again astonish the world with the heights we reach and the wonders we achieve and we will lead the world in human space exploration once again.” SLS ENGINE SECTION COMING TOGETHER
Crews at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility move the boat-tail to attach to the engine section of the SLS core stage. The boat- tail acts as a fairing to protect the four RS-25 engine’s critical systems.
NASA and Boeing have completed the majority of outfitting for the core stage engine section for the first flight of the Agency’s SLS rocket. The engine section, located at the bottom of the 212-foot-tall core stage, is one of the most complex parts of the rocket. Technicians at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans have installed more than 500 sensors, 18 miles of cables and numerous other critical systems for mounting, controlling, and delivering fuel to the rocket’s four RS-25 engines. The core stage tanks hold cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that are combusted by the engines to produce 2 million pounds of thrust to help send SLS to space for missions to the Moon. On the exterior of the engine section, technicians attached cork insulation for thermal protection, painted it white and finished other systems including fittings where solid rocket boosters attach. Read the full story: go.nasa.gov/2Ynrymv WHAT’S NEW IN SLS SOCIAL MEDIA
ROCKET SCIENCE IN 60 SECONDS
Before SLS’s first launch, the rocket’s structures are tested beyond the limits of liftoff and flight. In this Rocket Science in 60 Seconds video, Mike Roberts, team lead for SLS structural testing, explains why structural testing is so important. Watch the latest Rocket Science video here: bit.ly/2uIx1GM
NASA has a new mandate to go forward to the Moon by 2024. The SLS rocket is the foundation for the system that will get us there. This video explains how: bit.ly/2UvAGpQ RS-25 ENGINE TEST PREP
Crews install RS-25 engine E2062 into the A-1 test stand at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The engine is planned to be flown on SLS Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2). JULIE BASSLER IS THE MANAGER OF THE SLS STAGES OFFICE
Growing up on a working dairy farm in rural Breese, Illinois, NASA engineer Julie Bassler watched planes fly overhead as she worked in the fields. “As a child, the closest I ever got to seeing big cities was watching the airplanes that flew over our farm headed to their destinations,” Bassler said. “I would think, ‘I want to do that,’ and so my first dream was to be an airline pilot.” When Bassler left the farm for college, she took her work ethic that she learned from her parents with her. After two years studying engineering at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Bassler focused on aerospace engineering at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology in St. Louis, Missouri, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering in 1988. She went on to earn a master’s degree in physical science-space science from the University of Houston in Texas in 1992. Today, as the manager of the Stages Office for NASA’s SLS rocket, Bassler and her team are responsible for all facets of the SLS core stage, the world’s largest rocket stage being built today, and the Exploration Upper Stage (EUS), the advanced rocket stage that will make it possible to send even larger cargos to the Moon, Mars and even farther from Earth. Read the full story: go.nasa.gov/2U8iMdF
SPACEFLIGHT PARTNERS: Wildwood Electronics, Inc.
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 43
LOCATION: Madison, AL
WHAT THEY DO FOR SLS: Wildwood Electronics provides custom and built-to-print electrical systems fabrication, assembly and testing support for critical ground and flight hardware. Recent large-scale systems manufacturing for the SLS program includes successful fabrication, assembly and delivery of electrical ground support equipment to support SLS core stage testing at Michoud Assembly Facility, as well as delivery of stage controller hardware to support green run testing of the core stage at Stennis Space Center.
FOLLOW THE PROGRESS OF NASA’S NEW LAUNCH VEHICLE FOR DEEP SPACE:
Twitter ...... Twitter.com/NASA_SLS Facebook ...... Facebook.com/NASASLS EXPLORATION GROUND SYSTEMS HIGHLIGHTS
NASA ADMINISTRATOR TALKS MOON TO MARS EGS MONTHLY HIGHLIGHTS
Talking Moon to Mars CT-2 Prep for EM-1
Ground Systems Status EGS Outreach on the Move
16 ESD Combined Report March 2019 MOON TO MARS
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine speaks to NASA workers across the nation and members of the
news media, during a Moon to Mars event in the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building
high bay at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on March 11, 2019. Behind him is the Orion crew module
for Exploration Mission-2. The event followed the delivery of President Trump’s fiscal year 2020 budget
proposal to U.S. Congress, which includes funding for the Agency’s Moon to Mars initiative and Gateway
lunar outpost. Bridenstine presented a closer look at America’s work to return astronauts to the Moon in a
sustainable way and continue exploration to Mars. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
March 2019 ESD Combined Report 17 CRAWLER-TRANSPORTER 2 GETS ENGINE MAINTENANCE IN PREP FOR EXPLORATION MISSION-1 Even the toughest vehicles need regular maintenance to function at their best. Recently, William Vardaman and Pat Brown, both working under the Jacobs contracting team, performed engine maintenance on NASA’s crawler-transporter 2 in the crawler yard located in the Agency’s Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39 area in Florida. The massive, tracked vehicles are powered by large electrical power engines and two 16-cylinder American Locomotive Company (ALCO) engines. Vardaman and Brown, both mechanical technicians supporting the Agency’s Test and Operations Support Contract, spent several days rebuilding the vehicle’s fuel pump assemblies on both ALCO engines. They also installed new oil pumps that will lubricate the ALCOs from the top down before they’re started, minimizing future wear. This is one of two crawler-transporters that carried rockets and spacecraft, including the Apollo/Saturn V and space shuttle, from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to the launch pad. Now, they’re getting ready for NASA’s accelerated return to the Moon.
Crawler-transporter 2 has been modified and upgraded to carry the mobile launcher and NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, topped by the Orion spacecraft, for Exploration Mission-1, which will launch in 2020. The Agency’s Exploration Ground Systems oversaw extensive upgrades to crawler-transporter 2, including new generators, gear assemblies, roller bearings and brakes, as well as the hydraulic jacking, equalization and leveling (JEL) cylinders that keep its carrying surface level.
Last fall, crawler-transporter 2 carried the newly completed mobile launcher from its construction site north of the VAB, out to Pad B, then into the VAB, where the mobile launcher continues extensive testing. The crawler is gearing up for another move of the mobile launcher back to the pad later this spring for more testing.
Learn more about the crawlers at https://www.nasa.gov/content/the- crawlers
William Vardaman, left, and Pat Brown, mechanical technicians with the Jacobs contracting team, perform engine maintenance on NASA’s crawler-transporter 2 on March 26, 2019, in the crawler yard located in Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39 area. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
18 ESD Combined Report March 2019 EXPLORATION GROUND SYSTEMS GEARS UP FOR EXPLORATION MISSION-1
NASA’s Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) will utilize the most powerful rocket in the world to fly Orion farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown. The uncrewed flight from Launch Complex 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond.
Preparing for such a momentous mission involves extraordinary collaboration. From Exploration Ground Systems at Kennedy, to the Space Launch System (SLS) Launch Vehicle at Marshall Space Flight Center, to the Orion Spacecraft at Johnson Space Center and Kennedy, NASA employees, programs and centers are coming together to make EM-1 possible.
Here is Exploration Ground Systems’ “Status to Launch” for EM-1, the first integrated test of the Agency’s deep space exploration systems: ASSET: Mobile Launcher STATUS: Roughly 90 percent of the construction has been completed. Testing is planned through summer 2019. THE LOWDOWN: The mobile launcher left the construction site and completed a test rollout on the crawler to Launch Pad 39B in late August 2018. It remained there for several days to allow for fit checks with the pad. In early September 2018, it was moved into the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to begin multi-element verification and validation (V&V) testing. This testing will continue through the end of April 2019. The ML will then roll out to the pad for more V&V testing, which is slated to run through August 2019. WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: “We are just eight months of testing and two rolls away from turning the mobile launcher over for SLS stacking in the VAB as it gets prepped for launch of EM-1.” — Cliff Lanham, Mobile Launcher senior project manager FUN FACTS: The mobile launcher weighs 10.5 million pounds. The base of the structure has the square footage of 10 three-bedroom houses. The mobile launcher contains more than 80 miles of cabling. “As I like to tell people when I’m giving tours, technologically, we’re not breaking new ground,” Lanham said. “But the complexity of the mobile launcher systems integration is off the charts.”
ASSET: Crawler STATUS: 100 percent complete. “We’re mission ready now,” said Crawler Project Manager John Giles. “We could roll SLS to the pad today.” THE LOWDOWN: Work began on the upgrading of the crawler in 2011. The biggest overall change was lifted weight. With the space shuttle, the crawler was designed to lift 12 million pounds. The new SLS rocket requirement is 18 million pounds. Ames Research Center conducted a study on what would be required to strengthen the crawler to carry 18 million pounds. The main work completed on the crawler includes: replacing all of the traction roller bearings; strengthening the structural integrity of the trucks; replacing the A/C generators to create more available power; installing a new brake system; replacing the jacking equalization and leveling system, which contains the
March 2019 ESD Combined Report 19 massive hydraulic cylinders that lift up the mobile launcher with SLS; and rebuilding all 16 gear boxes. The crawler successfully took the mobile launcher on a test run to and from Pad 39B in late August through early September 2018. WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: “Our upgraded crawler is a beast — and our team knows how to tame it.” — John Giles, crawler project manager FUN FACTS: The crawler’s gears are 5 feet in diameter and a foot thick. The vehicle’s top speed is about 2 mph, but don’t expect to see it going that fast. Its normal traveling speed is about 1 mph.
ASSET: Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) STATUS: Platform installations are 99 percent complete. There are some modifications remaining, which will be finished by May 2019. THE LOWDOWN: Though the platforms are nearly completed, some of the remaining work must wait for the mobile launcher to leave high bay 3. Right now, the main focus is on conducting multi-element verification and validation to test all of the mobile launcher components connected to the VAB. Other current work includes modifying railings on the platforms. Construction of the platforms began in March 2014, with the first platform installation occurring in December 2015. WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: “My team’s biggest achievement was working together with operation, construction and designers to construct and install state-of-the-art platforms in high bay 3, which laid the groundwork for launching America’s next greatest rocket.” — Jose Perez Morales, VAB element project manager FUN FACTS: There are 10 levels of platforms. Each level has two halves, and each half weighs approximately 300,000 pounds. These new dynamic platforms can be moved vertically 10 feet up or down to account for vehicle deviation. Inserts can be modified and are interchangeable with all of the platforms.
ASSET: Launch Pad 39B STATUS: 98 percent complete. Multi-element verification and validation with the mobile launcher is essentially all that remains. THE LOWDOWN: Launch Pad 39B, which has undergone extensive upgrades beginning 11 years ago, is transitioning from a construction state to an operational state. Major work included: demolition of the fixed service structure/ rotating service structure, construction of new lightning towers, replacing the flame trench bricks and constructing a new flame deflector, replacing all of the instrumentation and communication systems and modifying the environmental control system. WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: “We gave the 50-year-old Pad 39B a complete makeover. We have replaced, refurbished or repaired every system on the pad.” — Regina Spellman, senior project manager for Launch Pad 39B FUN FACTS: Launch Pad 39B utilizes a combination of the Apollo Program, Space Shuttle Program and EGS systems and infrastructure. “We are really bringing together three generations to support the SLS,” Spellman said. The pad measures 2 miles around the perimeter. The water tower holds 400,000 gallons, and it empties in 25 seconds. ASSET: Launch Control Center (LCC)
20 ESD Combined Report March 2019 STATUS: Approximately 90 percent complete; this includes extensive hardware and software components, along with additional capabilities. THE LOWDOWN: Firing Room 1, which was used for the Apollo Program, Space Shuttle Program and Ares I-X test flight as part of the Constellation Program, has been completely upgraded. This includes a new console layout, updated furniture and a new command and control system that features advanced capabilities and tools. The software within the LCC is state-of-the-art, handling critical command functions and hundreds of thousands of data changes each second. Also, changes were made in the launch team structure and how it functions. “We have a different model now,” NASA Launch Director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said. “We tried to take the best of what we believe industry and Government have done previously and incorporate it into our concept.” A key simulation training event in Firing Room 1 is targeted for spring 2019. The team will work through launch scenarios, including potential problems and challenges that could occur, as they take the launch countdown close to T-zero. WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: “My launch team isn’t limited to the folks who are in the firing room on launch day; our team is everyone who is getting us one step closer, each and every day, to launch.” — Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, NASA launch director FUN FACTS: The LCC has been in operation since 1965. That year, it won an architectural award for industrial design of the year. There is a tradition in the LCC — dating back many years — of eating beans and cornbread post-launch. The launch director’s office has a window with a total view of the control room. “Being a test director for many years, one of the big things that we always paid attention to was when the launch director’s light came on,” Chief NASA Test Director Jeremy Graeber said. “That really kind of sent a signal to the team. We were already on our A-game, but now we needed to go on our A-plus game because the launch director is here.”
March 2019 ESD Combined Report 21 EGS OUTREACH ON THE MOVE
March was a busy month for media interviews with Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) folks at Kennedy Space Center. The Apollo 11 50th anniversary is a particularly hot topic as many of EGS’ assets are tied to the Apollo Program. At left is astronaut Nicole Stott with crawler-transporter driver Sam Dove, and then again with Regina Spellman, Pad 39B senior project manager.
OUTREACH IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS Genger Benson Perez and Dr. Lester Morales, Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) project managers, traveled to the U.S. Virgin Islands with two subject matter experts (SME) for outreach programs to students and teachers, March 10 to 16. On the first day, more than 450 students and teachers gathered at the University of Virgin Islands, St. Thomas Campus sports complex. Students learned about Bill Koenig, subject matter expert in Exploration Ground Systems, talks EGS program elements, including modifications to to students and teachers during an outreach trip to schools in the U.S. the Vehicle Assembly Building, Launch Complex 39B, Virgin Islands. crawler-transporter, mobile launcher, and Landing and Recovery from SME Mary Hanna. They also learned about Exploration Flight Test-1, Ascent Abort Test-2, and the Orion crew module from SME William Koenig. Morales talked about student internship opportunities across NASA.
On the second day, they presented to students on St. John. On days 3, 4 and 5, they presented to students on St. Croix. More than 1,500 students and teachers were reached during the outreach trip to the islands.
Mary Hanna, subject matter expert in Exploration Ground Systems, talks to students during an outreach program to schools in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
22 ESD Combined Report March 2019 Exploration Ground Systems staffers Karim Courey, at left, and Anibal Karban help spread the word at the Firestone Grand Prix event during the week of March 4.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration FOLLOW THE PROGRESS OF NASA’S EGS PROGRAM: John F. Kennedy Space Center Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899 NASA EGS Blog ...... blogs.nasa.gov/groundsystems www.nasa.gov Twitter ...... twitter.com/NASAGroundSys Facebook ...... facebook.com/NASAGroundSystems/ NP-2019-04-605a-KSC .