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Upper Stage Simulator Skin Segment

Mission: Ares I-X  
Launch: November 2009  
Comment: The edge of the skin was beveled after it was
discovered that welding a flat finish would input
pressure on the skin "tuna cans" causing them
to bow. With the bevel, the pull from the weld on
either side negated itself.

This 4.75" wide by 4" tall by 0.5" thick segment of ASTM A516 Grade 70 normalized steel plate was cut from the metal skin of the Ares I-X upper stage simulator (USS). The USS, fabricated at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio is comprised of 18-foot diameter, 10-foot tall segments, referred to as "tuna cans", that are in turn constructed from two rolled 180-degree pieces connected at each end by a longitudinal weld. The USS "cans" are to be mated together along 6" wide flanges using 180 bolts. The USS represents the volume and mass of the second stage of the Ares I, which houses two fuel tanks and J-2X engine used to propel the Orion crew spacecraft into orbit.

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