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  Ares I-X upper stage simulator at NASA GRC

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Author Topic:   Ares I-X upper stage simulator at NASA GRC
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-19-2007 12:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Ares I-X Upper Stage Simulator (USS) is currently being fabricated at NASA's Glenn Research Center (GRC) in Cleveland, Ohio.

Planned for 2009, the Ares I-X test flight will launch a four segment solid rocket booster and mock fifth segment (provided by ATK) together with an upper stage mass simulator (built by GRC) and unmanned mock-up of an Orion crew exploration vehicle and launch escape tower (under production at NASA Langley Research Center).

The Ares I upper stage houses the fuel tanks and J-2X engine used to propel the Orion spacecraft into orbit. For the Ares I-X sub-orbital test flight, the upper, or second stage will be represented by the USS that employs ballast to compensate for the missing fuel and engine to be used on Ares I.

GRC's approach to building the USS is in segments, "tuna cans", constructed from 0.5-inch thick steel that are then welded and bolted to flanges.

When completed, the segments will be moved by barge to Kennedy Space Center. As neither the Vehicle Assembly Building or launch complex 39B will be modified in time for the Ares I-X test flight, the USS "cans" are designed to be mated and serviced from the inside, with the support structure's platforms also serving as ballast for flight.

The following photographs show the GRC facilities and several USS segments under construction.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 09-19-2007 01:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

USS-5 being welded on the DAVI rolling machine.

The edges are beveled to prevent the welds from deforming the "cans".

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-19-2007 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

USS-2

USS-3

Flange waiting attachment to an 18-foot diameter USS can.

Additional completed flanges.

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

posted 09-19-2007 01:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

A pathfinder (test) segment is stacked on a ground support segment.

Inside the pathfinder segment, an example of the interior support platforms.

cIclops
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posted 09-20-2007 04:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cIclops   Click Here to Email cIclops     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the photos and the details of the USS!

As the design is still in the early stages, isn't it rather soon to be cutting metal?

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-20-2007 04:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cIclops:
As the design is still in the early stages, isn't it rather soon to be cutting metal?
The design of the Ares I-X test vehicle is more or less set. GRC is on schedule to deliver a completed USS to Kennedy Space Center in 51 weeks.

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 09-20-2007 11:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some final bits of the spacecraft configuration are still being ironed out, but the stage 1 and stage 2 dimensions and weights are set and construction contracts have been awarded. So this is the perfect time to start work on what essentially is a boilerplate of sorts. If the weights change, then ballast can either be added or removed as needed.

Clever idea of putting work platforms inside the thing IMHO.

All times are CT (US)

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