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  NASA tests abort test boosters for Orion

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Author Topic:   NASA tests abort test boosters for Orion
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
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posted 04-16-2007 02:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Buys Abort Test Boosters for Orion Flight Tests

NASA has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Air Force to support abort flight test requirements for the Orion Project. The Air Force has contracted with Orbital Sciences Corp. of Chandler, Ariz., to provide launch services for the flight tests.

The agreement with the Air Force's Space Development and Test Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., provides for abort test boosters that will serve as launch vehicles for Orion ascent abort flight tests that are set to occur from 2009 through 2011 at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The first abort test is scheduled for 2008, but will not require a functional booster.

The tests will support certification of the Orion crew exploration vehicle's launch abort system. The system includes a small escape rocket designed to ensure the safety of the crew in the event of a launch vehicle malfunction while on the launch pad or during ascent to orbit. A total of six tests are planned, pending environmental assessments. Two will simulate an abort from the launch pad and will not require a booster. The rest will use abort test boosters and simulate aborts at three stressing conditions along the Ares launch vehicle trajectory.

The Orion Project Office, based at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, designated Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., as the lead NASA center for abort flight test integration and operations, including procurement of the boosters. The project is developing the Orion spacecraft as part of an effort by NASA's Constellation Program to return humans to the moon and prepare for future voyages to Mars and other destinations in our solar system.

Through a competitive procurement, the Air Force has awarded a task order for two abort test boosters with options for two others under the existing Sounding Rockets Program 2. This indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract task order is valued between $35 million and $57 million. The four Sounding Rockets Program 2 contractors, including the winner, Orbital Sciences of Dulles, Va., were allowed to compete for the job of providing booster integration and launch support services. The Air Force has conducted 16 launches in the past 11 years under the Sounding Rockets Program.

The agreement for abort flight test support benefits both NASA and the Air Force. By making use of the experienced Air Force and contractor team, NASA reduces development risk associated with design and development of a new and unique launch vehicle for these tests. NASA also achieves financial savings while meeting an aggressive Orion test schedule. The Air Force benefits through reduced risk associated with future Air Force small launches, increased opportunity for service personnel to gain expertise, and a greater chance to share technologies.

The 3rd Space Test Squadron, a unit of the Air Force's Space Development and Test Wing, will manage abort test booster launch support services and integration of decommissioned Peacekeeper-class intercontinental ballistic missile assets. On a cost reimbursable basis, the squadron will provide integration support, project management support and related services.

The squadron regularly uses decommissioned Minuteman II and Peacekeeper rocket motors for government research and development of space launch and missile defense test target vehicles.

collocation
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From: McLean, VA, USA
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posted 04-08-2008 11:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for collocation   Click Here to Email collocation     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Washington Post: Key Spacecraft Motor Passes Test, Orbital Announces
Orbital Sciences Corp. announced yesterday that it successfully tested a rocket that can propel astronauts to safety in event of an emergency on NASA's new spacecraft.

For the past 18 months, Orbital, a Dulles rocket and space technology manufacturer has been working along with Sacramento-based Aerojet on the escape pod for the next generation of spacecraft that will put humans on the moon for the first time since 1972. The spaceship will also be the forerunner to a planned manned flight to Mars.

This successful rocket trial "definitely means they are playing very well with big boys -- the Lockheeds, Boeings, Northrops," said Paul Nisbet, an aerospace analyst with JSA Research. "It's right up there in terms of space technology, and in some areas it might even be better."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-16-2008 11:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Completes First Full-Scale Motor Test for Orion Spacecraft

NASA has completed the first full-scale rocket motor test for the Constellation Program's Orion spacecraft, a test of a solid rocket that will be used to jettison the craft's launch abort system.

Now under development, Orion will be America's next human spacecraft, designed to fly to the International Space Station and be part of a space flight system to return humans to the moon. The Orion jettison motor will separate the craft's launch abort system from the Orion crew module during launch.

The Orion launch abort system is a larger solid rocket motor system that will provide a safe escape for the crew in an emergency on the launch pad or during the climb to orbit. The test completed late last month is a critical milestone in NASA's preparations for a series of flight tests planned to begin late this year of the full Orion abort system.

"This was a major success for the Orion launch abort system team," said Mark Cooper, NASA's integrated product team lead for launch abort system propulsion at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "The test provided valuable data on motor performance that will allow design and analytical refinements by our contactor team. The test is the culmination of intense and focused work by the entire jettison motor team."

The jettison motor static test firing was conducted by Aerojet Corporation in Sacramento. NASA has partnered with Lockheed Martin Corporation, Orbital Sciences Corporation, and Aerojet to supply the jettison motor. NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., manages the Orion launch abort system design and development effort with partners and team members from Marshall.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-09-2008 09:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
Orion's New Launch Abort Motor Test Stand Ready for Action

NASA and Alliant Techsystems, or ATK, unveiled Monday a new vertical test stand that will be used later this summer to support NASA's Constellation Program. The stand will be used to test fire the full-scale abort motor for the launch abort system, which will sit atop the Orion crew exploration vehicle. The abort motor is designed to pull the crew module away from the Ares I launch vehicle in an emergency situation on the launch pad or during the first 300,000 feet after launch.

A full scale inert motor, without oxidizer in the propellant, is now secured top end down in the test stand with its nozzles pointing skyward at ATK's facility in Promontory, Utah. Engineers will spend the next few months performing a final checkout.

"We're breaking new ground with the development of this critical motor, which must have sufficient thrust to leave the vehicle quickly and get the crew to safety," said Ted Kublin, who is the lead engineer for the propulsion abort motor at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "The launch abort system is one of the most vital components of the Orion spacecraft, requiring innovative engineering to ensure success."

The abort motor stands more than 17 feet high and three feet in diameter and is equipped with four nozzles. The motor's specially designed manifold uses a reverse flow technology that forces hot gas through the manifold's four nozzles, creating a pulling force. The hot gas exits the top of the motor, allowing the resulting plume to clear the crew module.

A bench test firing of the abort motor's igniter assembly is scheduled to take place in early June. The igniter assembly is a small rocket motor inside the abort motor that provides the ignition source for the motor propellant. Once ignited, the motor propellant burns at a very high rate, resulting in four individual plumes that are more than three times the motor length. Total abort motor burn time is five seconds and creates a half-million pounds of thrust. However, the majority of the high impulse propellant will be expended in the first three seconds, which corresponds with the critical time frame for the Orion crew module to escape from any potentially life-threatening situation.

The abort system is a key element in NASA's continuing efforts to improve safety as the agency develops the next generation of spacecraft to return humans to the moon. NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., manages the launch abort system design and development effort with partners and team members from Marshall. Langley's Launch Abort System Office performs this function as part of the Orion Project Office located at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Va., is building the entire launch abort system for Lockheed Martin Corporation of Denver, the prime contractor for Orion.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 11-21-2008 11:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release

NASA, ATK Successfully Test First Orion Launch Abort Motor

Flames shot more than 100 feet high in a successful 5.5-second ground test firing Thursday, Nov. 20, of a launch abort motor for NASA's next generation spacecraft, the Orion crew exploration vehicle. NASA and the Orion industry team conducted the firing at the Alliant Techsystems, or ATK, facility in Promontory, Utah.

The abort motor will provide a half-million pounds of thrust to lift the crew module off the Ares I rocket, pulling the crew away safely in the event of an emergency on the launch pad or during the first 300,000 feet of the rocket's climb to orbit. Thursday's firing was the first time a motor with reverse flow propulsion technology at this scale has been tested. It also is the first test of its kind since the beginning of the Apollo Program.

"This milestone brings the Constellation Program one step closer to completion of the Orion vehicle that will carry astronauts to the International Space Station in 2015 and return humans to the moon by 2020," said Mark Geyer, Orion project manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "The launch abort system must be ready to operate in many different environmental conditions, and tests such as this one are critical to assure this safety feature will protect our astronauts."

Thursday's test firing was the culmination of a series of motor and component tests conducted this year in preparation for the next major milestone, a test scheduled for the spring of 2009 with a full-size mock-up of the Orion crew capsule.

The abort motor stands more than 17 feet tall and is three feet in diameter. During Thursday's ground firing, the motor was fixed in a vertical test stand with its four exhaust nozzles pointing skyward at ATK's facility.

On ignition, the abort motor fired for 5.5 seconds. The high impulse motor was developed to expend the majority of its propellant in the first three seconds, delivering the half million pounds of thrust needed to pull the capsule away from its launch vehicle in an emergency abort.

While similar to the Apollo Program's launch abort motor, Orion's abort motor incorporates today's technology into a more robust design. The launch abort motor uses a composite case and an exhaust turn-flow technology instead of a tower, which results in weight savings, improved performance and improved success in crew survival during an abort. Instead of the rocket plume exiting a rear nozzle, the manifold is placed at the forward end of the motor. The rocket thrust enters the manifold and is turned 155 degrees and forced out the four nozzles, creating a forward-pulling force.

To prove this new technology, a series of tests were performed leading up to the full-scale demonstration. Earlier tests included five subscale test firings incorporating reverse flow propulsion; full-scale structural integrity testing on the composite case, igniter bottle and manifold; and surveillance testing during casting to ensure the propellant chemistry met abort motor requirements.

ATK is the subcontractor responsible for the launch abort motor within NASA's Orion Project. Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, Va., is responsible for integrating the launch abort system motor into the vehicle for Lockheed Martin Corporation of Denver, the prime contractor for Orion. The Orion Project Office is located at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and receives management and technical support for the Launch Abort System from NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-17-2009 04:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ATK release
ATK Successfully Tests Orion Launch Abort System Attitude Control Motor

Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK) performed a ground test of a full-scale attitude control motor (ACM) for the launch abort system (LAS) of NASA's Orion crew exploration vehicle. The test was conducted at ATK's facility in Elkton, Md. on Dec. 15.

"The ACM test is a major accomplishment for the ATK, Lockheed Martin and the NASA LAS team. We demonstrated a critical technology capability that will enhance crew safety and mission success," said Bart Olson, Vice President and General Manager, ATK Tactical Propulsion and Controls. "This successful milestone brings Constellation another step closer to flight ready status and demonstrates progress toward improved flight safety for astronauts that is at the core of Constellation Program success.

Early indications are that the Demonstration Motor 1 (DM-1) test was successful and engineers are now analyzing the detailed results. This was the sixth in a series of ground tests of Orion's attitude control motor system, validating that the thruster system performs as designed.

ATK's attitude control motor provides steering for the Orion launch abort system which is designed to safely lift and steer the Orion crew module away from the Ares crew launch vehicle in the event of an emergency.

ATK's attitude control motor consists of a solid propellant gas generator, with eight proportional valves equally spaced around the circumference of the three-foot diameter motor. In combination, the valves can exert up to 7,000 pounds of steering force to the vehicle in any direction upon command from the crew module. The valves are controlled by a redundant power and control system.

ATK is under contract to Lockheed Martin, NASA's prime contractor for Orion, to develop the attitude control motor and provide motors for Orion's development test flights and human rated flights. ATK is also the prime contractor for Ares I first stage.

Video, photographs and additional information on the ACM program can be found at ATK's website.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-19-2010 09:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ATK release
ATK Successfully Tests Attitude Control Motor for Orion Launch Abort System: The Next Step in Creating Unmatched Crew Safety for Future Human Space Flight

Alliant Techsystems announced that it successfully completed the second of two ground tests of a full-scale attitude control motor (ACM) for the launch abort system (LAS) of NASA's Orion crew exploration vehicle. The second test was conducted on March 17, and evaluated environment extremes and ignition system robustness in addition to confirming the motor performance. The test was conducted at ATK's facility in Elkton, Maryland, where the first successful test was conducted on December 15, 2009.


Credit: ATK

Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor to NASA for Orion, leads the project team developing the nation's next-generation space flight vehicle to carry out missions to destinations throughout our solar system. Orion's launch abort system is critical to the human rating of any similarly designed spacecraft and is essential for crew safety which is fundamental to successful human space exploration in the future.

This test of the control motor validates the readiness for NASA's upcoming pad abort 1 (PA-1) flight test that will be conducted at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), New Mexico. The PA-1 ACM was delivered to WSMR in February. PA-1 is the first LAS flight test for NASA's Orion crew exploration vehicle.


Credit: ATK

"The success of this test, coupled with the success of the first test last December, demonstrates again that crew safety is an overriding priority in the design of the crew vehicles to be used in future human exploration missions. We are now ready for the next major milestone, a flight demonstration," said Bart Olson, interim President, ATK Mission Systems.

ATK's attitude control motor provides steering for the Orion launch abort system, which is designed to safely lift and steer the Orion crew module away from the launch vehicle in the event of an emergency. This was the seventh in a series of ground tests of Orion's attitude control motor system, validating that the thruster system performs as designed.

ATK's attitude control motor consists of a solid propellant gas generator, with eight proportional valves equally spaced around the circumference of the three-foot diameter motor. In combination, the valves can exert up to 7,000 pounds of steering force to the vehicle in any direction upon command from the crew module. The valves are controlled by a redundant power and control system.

ATK is under contract to Lockheed Martin to develop the attitude control motor and provide motors for Orion's development test flights and human-rated flights. ATK is also responsible for the main launch abort motor, successfully test-fired November 2008, and the Ares I first stage, which was successfully test-fired in September 2009.

About the Orion Launch Abort System:

The Orion launch abort system (LAS) activates within milliseconds in the event of an emergency on the launch pad or during initial ascent. The LAS consists of three motors: the abort motor that fires nearly 500,000 pounds of thrust to pull the crew module up and away from the launch vehicle; the attitude control motor that exerts up to 7,000 pounds of steering force to reorient the vehicle's position; and the jettison motor that separates the crew module from the launch abort system so that parachutes can be deployed for a safe landing. The jettison motor is the only motor that will be activated on all nominal missions to separate the spacecraft from the launch abort system assembly shortly after second stage activation. ATK is providing the abort and attitude control motors and Aerojet is providing the jettison motor. All three motors have been integrated into the LAS assembly by a Lockheed Martin-led team at White Sands Missile Range in preparation for the Pad Abort 1 test this spring.

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