Notardonato W.,Kennedy Space Center
Cryogenics | Year: 2012
A new era of space exploration is being planned. Exploration architectures under consideration require the long term storage of cryogenic propellants in space. This requires development of active control systems to mitigate the effect of heat leak. This work summarizes current state of the art, proposes operational design strategies and presents options for future architectures. Scaling and integration of active systems will be estimated. Ideal long range spacecraft systems will be proposed with exploration architecture benefits considered. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
News Article | February 2, 2016
NASA’s Orion capsule – which is tasked to bring humans to Mars – has gone on a trip. It’s not yet going to space, though. The aircraft is merely moving from New Orleans to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. From the Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana to Florida, the Orion will be carried by the Supper Guppy aircraft, a massive aircraft resembling the cute tiny fish from up above but remaining a stark, imposing sight on the ground. The Super Guppy is assigned to transport Orion for Exploration Mission-1, where the pressure vessel will fly on the first integrated launch of Orion and the new rocket known as the Space Launch System (SLS) in 2018. Featuring a cargo compartment measuring 25 feet in height, 25 feet in width, and 111 feet in length, the Super Guppy can carry over 26 tons of cargo and has a hinged nose that allows large items to be loaded and unloaded from the front side. This unique airplane’s history dates back to the Apollo’s time in the 1960s, when it was used to move Saturn V rocket’s parts from California to Florida. It’s a welcome alternative to a Panama Canal passage, which will take weeks or months to be completed. It has also been used for shipping supersonic jets, modules from the International Space Station, and the Orion capsule's heat shield – the biggest of its kind ever constructed. The Orion is perhaps Super Guppy’s most important cargo – the spacecraft is planned to carry four astronauts and launch atop the SLS. But first: a test flight. “[It] will fly without crew [and] will demonstrate the agency’s new capability to launch future deep space missions, which include missions to an asteroid and Mars,” NASA said in an official statement. Preceding Exploration Mission-1 is Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) in December 2014, a mission that brought Orion 3,600 miles above Earth’s surface and assessed basic functions needed for a manned mission to space. At the space center in Florida, Orion will be tested for its structural integrity and outfitted with the right systems. If things fall into place, it will take its first flight on top of SLS in 2018. Fingers crossed, its first crewed mission will then occur in 2013, while NASA is hoping to send humans to the Red Planet by the middle of the 2030s.
Many of the teachers are retired now. They have gray hair. A few limp. But they still believe strongly in what McAuliffe hoped to accomplish aboard Challenger before disaster struck during liftoff on Jan. 28, 1986. "It's really hard" to be back, said William Dillon, 77, a retired teacher who represented California in the competition back in the mid-1980s. He was at Kennedy Space Center for Challenger's launch and had gotten to know not only McAuliffe, but a few of the other astronauts on board the doomed flight. Linda Preston, also retired as a teacher, choked up as the names of the Challenger dead were read during the memorial service. The former astronaut reciting the names of all 24 astronauts killed in the line of duty over the years, Jon McBride, had to fight back tears. "I couldn't breathe," Preston later confided to a reporter. She represented Utah in the teacher competition. Close to 40 of the 113 remaining semifinalists for teacher-in-space traveled to Cape Canaveral for the anniversary commemoration, the biggest gathering ever for a NASA memorial like this. "We felt we all wanted to be part of it," said Connecticut semifinalist David Warner, who still teaches science, robotics and rocketry. Another first: McAuliffe's son, Scott, 39, took part in the ceremony. He said having his own two sons there with him—ages 6 and 8—made it easier. It's time, he said, that his children see and learn firsthand all about astronauts and the space program. As the families of the lost Challenger crew marked the space shuttle's 30th anniversary, there was a new voice to address the crowd. June Scobee Rodgers—widow of Challenger commander Dick Scobee and longtime spokeswoman for the group—passed the torch to daughter Kathie Scobee Fulgham. Fulgham—not Rodgers—was on the stage for Thursday morning's ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Because of a steady drizzle, the gathering was moved indoors, where the retired space shuttle Atlantis was suspended overhead. The crowd numbered close to 400 and included family members of astronauts killed in all three of NASA's spacecraft tragedies: Challenger; Columbia's catastrophic descent on Feb. 1, 2003; and the Apollo 1 fire on Jan. 27, 1967. For the seven astronauts' loved ones, Jan. 28, 1986, remains fresh in their minds. Steven McAuliffe, a federal judge in Concord, New Hampshire, still declines interviews about his late wife Christa, who was poised to become the first schoolteacher in space. But he noted in a statement that although 30 years have passed, "Challenger will always be an event that occurred just recently. Our thoughts and memories of Christa will always be fresh and comforting." McAuliffe said he's pleased that "Christa's goals have been largely accomplished in that she has inspired generations of classroom teachers and students." McAuliffe was presiding over a trial this week in Concord, and so Scott represented the family. Scott and his sister are now in their 30s. The McAuliffes normally do not take part in these NASA memorials, so Scott's presence is especially noteworthy. Along with the other Challenger families, Rodgers established the Challenger Center for Space Science Education just three months after the shuttle disintegrated in the Florida sky. A leak in the right booster doomed the ship; unusually cold weather that morning left Challenger's booster rockets with stiff O-ring seals. Today, there are more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers focusing on science, technology, engineering and math, mostly in the U.S. More are being built. "They're not just a field trip for kids. They're actually lessons learned," said Rodgers, an educator who lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. "That's why they've lasted." McAuliffe's backup, Barbara Morgan, a schoolteacher from Idaho who finally made it to orbit in 2007, poignantly shared memories of each member of the Challenger crew. Besides Dick Scobee and Christa McAuliffe, the Challenger dead include pilot Michael Smith, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka and Gregory Jarvis. At Kennedy, the Scobee contingent numbered 12, including June's son Richard, a major general in the Air Force, and a 16-year-old granddaughter. Dick Scobee was 46 years old when he died aboard Challenger barely a minute into the flight. Both his children are now in their 50s. "For so many people, 30 years, it's definitely history. It's in the history books," Rodgers said. For the family, "it's like it's just happened, which in a way keeps Dick Scobee young in our hearts, and the joy and excitement he had for flying."
NASA’s Super Guppy aircraft, carrying the Orion crew module pressure vessel for NASA’s Exploration Mission-1, arrived at the Shuttle Landing Facility operated by Space Florida at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/Brittney Mostert The Orion crew module pressure vessel for NASA's Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) arrived today at the Shuttle Landing Facility operated by Space Florida at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Arrival of the module marks an important milestone toward the agency's journey to Mars. The crew module arrived aboard the agency's Super Guppy aircraft from NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Welding work on the pressure vessel, which is the underlying structure of the crew module, was completed at Michoud. The crew module was offloaded from the Super Guppy and readied for transport to the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building high bay for processing. In the high bay, NASA and Orion manufacturer Lockheed Martin will outfit the crew module with its systems and subsystems necessary for flight, including its heat-shielding thermal protection system. NASA's Space Launch System rocket will be the largest rocket ever built. It will carry the Orion spacecraft on EM-1, a test flight scheduled for 2018. During EM-1, Orion will travel thousands of miles beyond the moon over the course of a three-week mission. Explore further: Image: Orion crew module at the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building, Kennedy Space Center
News Article | June 29, 2016
NASA successfully fired up a booster designed to support the most powerful rocket in the world during its second qualification test in Utah on Tuesday, June 28, pushing the space agency one small step closer to Mars. The test, which was held at the Orbital ATK facilities in Promontory, also marked the final full-scale hurdle before the rocket is launched to space on NASA's Orion spacecraft in its first uncrewed flight in late 2018. Known as the Space Launch System (SLS), the rocket is intended for deep space missions and will be used for the first manned journey to Mars in 2030. Tuesday's test involved seeing, feeling and experiencing approximately 3.6 million pounds of thrust, says William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. Gerstenmaier says the test is important, as it will help scientists appreciate the progress they are making to advance human space exploration and see how far we have gone in opening new frontiers for science and technology missions in deep space. John Honeycutt, program manager at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, says Tuesday's test is the "pinnacle" of years of hard work by NASA engineers. The first full-scale qualification test was conducted in March 2015, displaying an acceptable performance of the booster at 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists say testing at the thermal extremes is crucial in understanding the effect of temperature on the way the propellant burns. The second full-duration qualification tested the booster at a cold motor conditioning target of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The test lasted for two minutes but provided NASA with critical data on 82 objectives that will support the certification of the booster for space flight. When ignited, the temperature inside the rocket booster will increase up to nearly 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Engineers will assess the data, which were captured by more than 530 instrumentation channels on the SLS booster. As soon as it is completed, four RS-25 main engines and two five-segment boosters will power SLS during deep space missions. The solid rocket boosters were built by Orbital ATK, NASA's contractor, and were designed to work in parallel with the main engines of SLS during the first two minutes of the flight. The boosters will give at least 75 percent of the thrust required for the Orion spacecraft and SLS rocket to veer away from the gravitational pull of the planet. Honeycutt says SLS hardware is currently being produced for every part of the rocket. He says the space agency is also making progress on the Orion spacecraft. The ground systems will support a launch from the Kennedy Space Center. © 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.