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NASA Completes Artemis Space Launch System Structural Testing Campaign

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On June 24, 2020, engineers accomplished the House Launch System (SLS) rocket’s structural testing marketing campaign for the Artemis lunar missions by testing the liquid oxygen structural check article to seek out its level of failure.

“The House Launch System and Marshall check staff have accomplished an incredible job of engaging in this check program, marking a significant milestone not just for the SLS Program but in addition for the Artemis program,” stated John Honeycutt, the SLS Program Supervisor. “From constructing the check stands, assist tools and check articles to conducting the assessments and analyzing the info, it’s outstanding work that may assist ship astronauts to the Moon.”

For the ultimate check, the liquid oxygen tank check article — measuring 70 ft tall and 28 ft in diameter — was bolted into a large 185,000-pound metal ring on the base of Marshall’s Check Stand 4697. Hydraulic cylinders have been then calibrated and positioned all alongside the tank to use tens of millions of kilos of crippling drive from all sides whereas engineers measured and recorded the consequences of the launch and flight forces. The liquid oxygen tank circumferentially failed within the weld location as engineers predicted and on the approximate load ranges anticipated, proving flight readiness and offering vital information for the tank’s designers. The check concluded at roughly 9 p.m. CT. This remaining check on the liquid oxygen structural check article met all this system milestones.

The profitable completion of SLS structural qualification testing at NASA’s Marshall House Flight Middle in Huntsville, Alabama wraps up the biggest check marketing campaign on the heart since assessments performed for the House Shuttle Program, greater than 30 years in the past. Throughout the check marketing campaign 5 structural check articles underwent 199 separate check instances and greater than 421 gigabytes of information have been collected so as to add to pc fashions used to design the rocket. The ultimate check marks the achievement of all SLS structural testing necessities previous to the Artemis I mission — the primary in a collection of more and more complicated missions that may allow human exploration to the Moon and Mars.

Earlier this yr, NASA and engineers from Boeing, the core stage prime contractor, accomplished 24 baseline assessments that simulated precise flight situations on the liquid oxygen structural check article. For all of the assessments, 1000’s of sensors measure stress, strain and temperature whereas high-speed cameras and microphones sought to determine any buckling or cracking within the tank’s cylindrical wall. The info gathered from this baseline check helped qualify the SLS core stage constructions and built-in higher stage for flight.

The Marshall staff has been conducting structural qualification testing on the rocket since Might 2017 with an built-in check of the higher a part of the rocket stacked collectively — together with the interim cryogenic propulsion stage, the Orion stage adapter and the launch automobile stage adapter. That was adopted by testing of the 4 largest constructions that compose the core stage — the engine part, the intertank, the liquid hydrogen tank and the liquid oxygen tank. Every of those assessments offered extra information to pc fashions that predict how the constructions will carry out beneath the tough situations of launch and flight.

“The Marshall check lab staff has labored carefully with the House Launch System Program to check the rocket’s constructions from the highest to backside,” stated Ralph Carruth, Marshall’s check lab director. “After watching the check stands being constructed, working alongside SLS and Boeing engineers to determine testing procedures and conducting and gathering outcomes of 5 structural qualifying assessments, we’re proud to contribute information exhibits these constructions can face up to the pains of flight.”

With the conclusion of testing, designers now have information that could be useful in optimizing SLS hardware. SLS may have the facility to ship astronauts ahead to the Moon and in the end to Mars. Testing the brand new, complicated items of hardware is vital to the success not solely of the primary flight check of SLS and NASA’s Orion spacecraft, but in addition to all future missions.

“This yr is a landmark yr for core stage testing for the Artemis missions,” stated Julie Bassler, the SLS phases supervisor. “We have now efficiently accomplished our core stage main structural assessments at Marshall House Flight Middle and are making progress on Inexperienced Run testing of the Artemis I core stage at Stennis House Middle that may simulate launch. All these assessments aren’t solely useful for the primary Artemis mission but in addition validates the brand new built-in design of the SLS core stage construction, propulsion and avionics techniques and ensures its readiness for future flights.”

To finish the structural qualification check marketing campaign for NASA’s House Launch System (SLS) rocket, the liquid oxygen structural check article was pushed past its limits till it broke and water gushed from the tank. The tank is a check article that’s a part of the SLS core stage that may produce 2 million kilos of thrust to assist launch the rocket. The tank was bolted into a large metal ring on the base of Marshall’s Check Stand 4697. Hydraulic cylinders have been then calibrated and positioned alongside the tank to use tens of millions of kilos of crippling drive from all sides whereas engineers measured and recorded the consequences of the launch and flight forces. For the check on June 24, water used to simulate the liquid oxygen flows out of the tank after it ruptures. The structural check marketing campaign was performed on the rocket to make sure the SLS rocket’s construction can endure the pains of launch and safely ship astronauts to the Moon on the Artemis missions. Credit: NASA/David Olive

Groups at Stennis House Middle close to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi are making progress on Inexperienced Run testing of the assembled SLS core stage for the Artemis I mission. At NASA’s Michoud Meeting Facility in New Orleans, Boeing, the core stage prime contractor, has manufactured all the principle core stage constructions for the Artemis II mission and began work on Artemis III constructions. The 212-foot-tall core stage is the biggest, most complicated rocket stage NASA has constructed because the Saturn V phases that powered the Apollo missions to the Moon. Aerojet Rocketdyne has assembled engines for the Artemis II mission and is within the means of assembling Artemis III engines

Northrop Grumman just lately delivered booster segments to the NASA’s Kennedy House Middle in Florida the place they’re being ready for launch. All 10 of the segments for the second Artemis mission are forged, and Northrop Grumman is now engaged on the boosters for Artemis III. With the arrival of the boosters to Kennedy, the one remaining items of hardware for the Artemis I flight check to be delivered are the launch automobile stage adapter, which connects the rocket to the Orion spacecraft and can arrive this summer time, and the SLS core stage, which might be transported to Kennedy by barge after the Inexperienced Run sizzling fireplace check at Stennis later this yr.

The SLS rocket, Orion spacecraft, Gateway and human touchdown system are a part of NASA’s spine for deep area exploration. The Artemis program is the subsequent step in human area exploration. It is a part of America’s broader Moon to Mars exploration strategy, through which astronauts will discover the Moon and expertise gained there to allow humanity’s subsequent big leap, sending people to Mars.

For extra on NASA’s SLS, go to: https://www.nasa.gov/sls

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