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  NASA's Orion Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1)

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Author Topic:   NASA's Orion Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1)
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 33106
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-09-2013 08:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
First mission of Space Launch System with Orion atop it to preview asteroid visit

Managers in NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate have initiated a formal request to change the mission plan for the agency's first flight of the Space Launch System (SLS), Exploration Mission (EM) 1 in 2017. The flight will carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft to a deep retrograde orbit near the moon, a stable orbit in the Earth-moon system where an asteroid could be relocated as early as 2021.

The 25-day mission will send Orion more than 40,000 miles beyond the moon and allow engineers to evaluate the performance of SLS and assess the systems designed to support a crew in Orion before the capsule begins carrying astronauts. The plan will provide NASA with the opportunity to align the flight more closely with the agency's mission to send humans to a relocated asteroid.

The previous plan for the first test flight of the SLS heavy-lift launch vehicle was to send Orion on a 10 day mission to high-lunar orbit to evaluate the fully integrated Orion and SLS system.

"We sent Apollo around the moon before we landed on it and tested the space shuttle's landing performance before it ever returned from space." said Dan Dumbacher, NASA's deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development. "We've always planned for EM-1 to serve as the first test of SLS and Orion together and as a critical step in preparing for crewed flights. This change still gives us that opportunity and also gives us a chance to test operations planning ahead of our mission to a relocated asteroid."

The request will be reviewed later this summer by a range of other NASA officials.

The agency announced in April a plan to find and redirect an asteroid to a stable point near the moon where astronauts can visit and study it as early as 2021.

NASA's asteroid initiative leverages human and robotic exploration activities while also accelerating efforts to improve detection and characterization of asteroids. It aligns current and future work in NASA's Science, Space Technology and Human Exploration and Operations mission directorates to achieve the space goals set by the administration.

Across the U.S., engineers at NASA and its contractors are making progress to develop and test Orion and SLS. Orion will first launch on a test flight in September 2014. A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket will send the spacecraft to an altitude of 3,600 miles above Earth's surface. It will reenter the atmosphere at speeds of about 20,000 mph and endure temperatures of 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

The test flight is designed to evaluate the performance of Orion's heatshield and other systems.

The SLS program currently is undergoing an extensive review process to ensure that every element of the launch vehicle can be successfully integrated. The review process, called the Preliminary Design Review, is scheduled for completion later this summer.

SLS will be NASA's most capable rocket ever and enable missions to new destinations in the solar system.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 33106
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-13-2015 03:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lockheed Martin release
Orion Test Lab Mockup for Next Flight Finished

The construction of an Orion crew module and crew module adapter full-scale mockup has been completed at the Lockheed Martin Littleton, Colorado facility.

This mockup was transferred to the Orion Test Lab (OTL) on May 13, 2015 where engineers will configure it with the exact harnessing, electrical power, sensors, avionics and flight software needed to support Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1).

Orion's team of engineers will use the mockup to verify the configuration of these vehicle components for EM-1 which ultimately saves assembly time and reduces risk. The mockup will then be connected to hardware emulations of the full EM-1 stack (Orion crew module, European Service Module, second stage booster, and the Space Launch System) as well as ground support equipment.

Once it's connected, the team will simulate and test every aspect of the EM-1 mission from launch to splash down.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 33106
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-08-2015 04:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
First Pieces of NASA's Orion for Next Mission Come Together at Michoud

NASA is another small step closer to sending astronauts on a journey to Mars. On Saturday, engineers at the agency's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans welded together the first two segments of the Orion crew module that will fly atop NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on a mission beyond the far side of the moon.

Above: Lockheed Martin Engineers at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana, perform the first weld on the Orion pressure vessel for Exploration Mission 1. (NASA/Radislav Sinyak)

"Every day, teams around the country are moving at full speed to get ready for Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), when we'll flight test Orion and SLS together in the proving ground of space, far away from the safety of Earth," said Bill Hill, deputy associate administrator for Exploration Systems Development at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We're progressing toward eventually sending astronauts deep into space."

The primary structure of Orion's crew module is made of seven large aluminum pieces that must be welded together in detailed fashion. The first weld connects the tunnel to the forward bulkhead, which is at the top of the spacecraft and houses many of Orion's critical systems, such as the parachutes that deploy during reentry. Orion's tunnel, with a docking hatch, will allow crews to move between the crew module and other spacecraft.

"Each of Orion's systems and subsystems is assembled or integrated onto the primary structure, so starting to weld the underlying elements together is a critical first manufacturing step," said Mark Geyer, Orion Program manager. "The team has done tremendous work to get to this point and to ensure we have a sound building block for the rest of Orion's systems."

Engineers have undertaken a meticulous process to prepare for welding. They have cleaned the segments, coated them with a protective chemical and primed them. They then outfitted each element with strain gauges and wiring to monitor the metal during the fabrication process. Prior to beginning work on the pieces destined for space, technicians practiced their process, refined their techniques and ensured proper tooling configurations by welding together a pathfinder, a full-scale version of the current spacecraft design.

NASA's prime contractor for the spacecraft, Lockheed Martin, is doing the production of the crew module at Michoud.

Through collaborations across design and manufacturing, teams have been able to reduce the number of welds for the crew module by more than half since the first test version of Orion's primary structure was constructed and flown on the Exploration Flight Test-1 last December. The Exploration Mission-1 structure will include just seven main welds, plus several smaller welds for start and stop holes left by welding tools. Fewer welds will result in a lighter spacecraft.

During the coming months as other pieces of Orion's primary structure arrive at Michoud from machine houses across the country, engineers will inspect and evaluate them to ensure they meet precise design requirements before welding. Once complete, the structure will be shipped to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida where it will be assembled with the other elements of the spacecraft, integrated with SLS and processed before launch.

See here for discussion of NASA's 2018 Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1).

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