Author Topic: LIVE: QM-2 SLS Booster Test - June 28, 2016 - Discussion And Updates  (Read 34953 times)


Offline AnalogMan

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Twice as Nice: NASA, Orbital ATK Prepare for Second SLS Booster Ground Test
Kim Henry MSFC, September 23, 2015

NASA and Orbital ATK of Promontory, Utah, are getting fired up for a second qualification ground test for the largest, most powerful boosters ever built for the agency’s new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS).

On Sept. 22, engineers successfully tested the booster thrust vector control and avionics systems during an off-motor hot-fire test at ATK. The hot-fire test simulated the test cycle that will be used in the second qualification test, which will closely resemble flight conditions.

The thrust vector control system steers the rocket nozzle based on commands passed through the booster avionics system -- made up of hardware, software and operating systems that will communicate with the SLS avionics system and ground operations. The avionics also will control booster operations, like motor firing and separation motor ignition.

When completed, two five-segment boosters and four RS-25 main engines will power the SLS on deep space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars. The solid rocket boosters -- measuring 177 feet long and producing 3.6 million pounds of thrust -- operate in parallel with the main engines for the first two minutes of flight. The boosters provide more than 75 percent of the thrust needed for the launch vehicle to escape the gravitational pull of the Earth.

The second qualification test, planned for spring 2016, will test the booster’s performance at a cold motor conditioning target of 40 degrees and also demonstrate that it meets applicable ballistic requirements.

“We are making significant progress in preparation for the second qualification test,” says Bruce Tiller, deputy manager of the SLS Boosters Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Marshall manages the SLS Program for the agency. “The completion of these qualification tests is crucial in getting the boosters certified for the first two flights of SLS and staying the course for the journey to Mars.”

Four of the five segments of the booster also have been cast at Orbital ATK’s facilities. The final segment is scheduled to be cast in late September. Two of the cast segments have undergone rigorous inspections, with the other two following suit in the next two months.

“The rear and forward segments have successfully completed all non-destructive evaluation with no defect indications and are currently in final assembly,” says Fred Brasfield, Orbital ATK vice president for NASA programs. “The next major event for the rear segment will be installation of the nozzle, which is expected to happen in November.”

“Finding no defects in the segment insulation we’ve inspected so far is a huge accomplishment for our teams, and something that hasn’t been done on past NASA programs,” says Tiller. “That’s a testament to the work we’ve put in on refining our manufacturing processes and materials.”

The first booster qualification test was successfully completed in March. For that test, the booster was heated to 90 degrees Fahrenheit to demonstrate how it performs in high-temperature conditions. Similar to the first test, some of the objectives of the second test include data gathering on vital motor upgrades, such as the new insulation and booster case liner and the redesigned nozzle, which increases the robustness of the design. The nozzle -- the most complex part of the booster -- controls expansion of chamber pressures and includes the thrust vector control system, which guides and controls the rocket.

The first flight test of the SLS will feature a Block I configuration for a 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit to test the performance of the integrated system. As the SLS evolves, it will provide an unprecedented lift capability of 130 metric tons (143 tons) to enable missions even farther into our solar system.

http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/nasa-orbital-atk-prepare-for-second-sls-booster-ground-test.html

Photo Caption: The avionics subsystem and hardware is checked out at one of Orbital ATK’s test facilities before the successful Sept. 22 off-motor hot-fire test. The hot-fire test simulated the test cycle that will be used during the second booster qualification test, which closely resembles real flight conditions. Credits: Orbital ATK

Offline PahTo

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Twice as Nice: NASA, Orbital ATK Prepare for Second SLS Booster Ground Test
Kim Henry MSFC, September 23, 2015
...
“The rear and forward segments have successfully completed all non-destructive evaluation with no defect indications and are currently in final assembly,” says Fred Brasfield, Orbital ATK vice president for NASA programs.
...

Good news, considering the aft segment is the one that gave them so much trouble on the run up to QM-1.  A sample size of one is not that much, but it is encouraging that they found the materials and process that works for casting...


Offline Kansan52

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What a difference. Voids in every STS booster. No voids in QM-2.

Offline Bubbinski

Gonna try to make the 90 minute drive up for this.  Will likely go to the public viewing site this time.
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline Roy_H

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I don't see a discussion version of this thread. According to the article, this is a cold test, but delaying until late Spring brings it into warm weather. Shouldn't this be late Winter with the date picked to be below 40°F?
"If we don't achieve re-usability, I will consider SpaceX to be a failure." - Elon Musk

Offline Chris Bergin

I don't see a discussion version of this thread.

I've converted it into discussion and updates as updates only isn't required :)

Offline renclod

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According to the article, this is a cold test, but delaying until late Spring brings it into warm weather. Shouldn't this be late Winter with the date picked to be below 40°F?

The DM-2 5-seg motor was test fired aug 31 2010.
That motor was also conditioned to below 40 deg F.

>>> Aggreko’s low temperature chillers were used to execute the DM-2 “cold motor” test – supporting ATK’s objective to meet NASA’s specification to cool the motor to 40°F to measure solid rocket motor performance at low temperature and verify design requirements of new materials.

The temperature of DM-2 was controlled by the atmospheric conditions within the removable building housing the test motor. To achieve this scope of work in a controlled and repeatable manner, Aggreko process engineers and temperature control experts used specialized temporary utility equipment to cool the structure to target temperatures of 20°F.  Aggreko’s engineered solution for the cold motor test consisted of temporary generators to power the system of low temperature chillers; specially designed low temperature air handlers; a customized air conditioning duct system; and a suite of temperature control and electrical distribution equipment.

“...achieving freezing temperatures under challenging environmental conditions, such as hot summer temperatures, cooling 1.6 million pounds of propellant, and working with a movable structure.”

Aggreko designed a first-of-its-kind low temperature air handler configuration to manage climate control for the mobile building:  three stacks of two air handler units with a custom-made defrost unit.  One of the air handlers drew air from inside the building, cooled it to 20°F, then recycled into the building while the remaining unit was on standby or defrost mode, enabling continuous cooling of air.  A seventh air handler was installed to provide fresh air and positively pressurize the mobile building to eliminate infiltration of warm, moist air.
...
Prior to the live test, Aggreko detached equipment from the building, and the structure was rolled away.  Aggreko continued to cool the rocket motor section joints with a custom air conditioning duct system up to an hour before the rocket was fired. <<<


also
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=22617.80
« Last Edit: 10/12/2015 10:38 AM by renclod »

Offline Kansan52

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I don't see a discussion version of this thread. According to the article, this is a cold test, but delaying until late Spring brings it into warm weather. Shouldn't this be late Winter with the date picked to be below 40°F?

My guess, without looking up weather conditions, but the average temperature at the test site may bring the core down low enough without external help.

Offline Roy_H

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According to the article, this is a cold test, but delaying until late Spring brings it into warm weather. Shouldn't this be late Winter with the date picked to be below 40°F?

The DM-2 5-seg motor was test fired aug 31 2010.
That motor was also conditioned to below 40 deg F.

>>> Aggreko’s low temperature chillers were used to execute the DM-2 “cold motor” test...

Thanks for the explanation, but it does seem to be doing this in the most expensive way possible. I guess the advantage is to be able to control temperature/humidity precisely and not be dependent on weather variability.
"If we don't achieve re-usability, I will consider SpaceX to be a failure." - Elon Musk

Offline Mark S

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Would it have been better to create a six month delay in the test program than to actively cool the motor down? You would still be paying everyone's salary to sit around and wait.

Offline b0objunior

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To understand why it take such a long time to reach the right temperature is because of the sheer mass of the booster. There is a lot of energy within, and getting rid of the amount needed to reach 40 degrees fahrenheit is a huge task. Espacialy since you need the temperature to be constant all throughout.
« Last Edit: 10/13/2015 05:54 AM by b0objunior »

Offline rayleighscatter

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An update from OA's site:
Quote
Orbital ATK and NASA celebrated a highly-successful ground qualification test (QM-1) last spring of the five-segment solid rocket booster motor we are developing for NASA’s Space Launch System—NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket that will take humans farther into space than we’ve ever ventured. Looking for a repeat, Orbital ATK is preparing for a second qualification test (QM-2), scheduled for this summer.

While QM-1 tested the rocket motor’s performance at a high temperature, QM-2 will assess the motor’s performance at the colder end of its accepted propellant temperature range. In addition, technicians will install Developmental Flight Instrumentation and collect avionics performance data, and accumulate a vast amount of data that will further support the motor’s capability. A full scale ground test is a unique test bed, and the goal is to gather as much information as possible from this final test to support booster qualification.

Additionally, QM-2 will include the four booster separation motors that will be attached to the aft skirt. While the BSMs are not going to be live, we will receive valuable structural dynamics data. After qualification is complete, the boosters will then be ready to proceed toward the first flight of SLS and Orion, known as EM-1, in 2018. The QM-2 test team is making significant progress toward meeting the June 2016 QM-2 test date. All five segments have been successfully cast with propellant at Orbital ATK’s Promontory, Utah, facility, and by early March the segments will all be in the Promontory, Utah, T-97 test bay, ready for integration.

“The five segments have effectively completed all non-destructive evaluation with no defect indications and are ready to be incorporated in T-97,” said Fred Brasfield, Orbital ATK Vice President for NASA Programs. “Nozzle installation is also complete – the next major event for the program is the aft exit cone mate around mid-April, followed by initiation of cold conditioning the motor in preparation for test.”

Building on three decades of knowledge and experience gained with the space shuttle, the SLS booster is the largest, most powerful solid propellant booster ever built for flight. The booster has been enhanced with the latest technology including a number of design, process and testing improvements for greater performance, safety and affordability.

Standing 17 stories tall and burning approximately six tons of propellant every second, each booster generates more maximum thrust than 14 four-engine jumbo commercial airliners. With more payload mass and volume than any existing rocket, as well as more energy to send missions through space, SLS has the capability to send human and robotic explorers to deep space destinations including asteroids and eventually Mars and beyond.
And for the attached images:
* QM-2’s Center Aft segment on its way to Test Bay T-97
* QM-2 nozzle installation in final assembly.
* QM-2 off-motor hot fire test, September, 2015. This was a test of the thrust vector control system, and involved an avionics test on the aft skirt..

Offline rayleighscatter

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Quote
The fifth and final segment for a full-scale test version of NASA's Space Launch System booster is delivered March 2 to Orbital ATK's Promontory, Utah, test site. The aft -- or rear -- segment of the booster will be assembled with the other four segments, currently at the test stand, and outfitted for a second booster qualification ground test this summer. The test will measure the booster’s performance at a cold motor conditioning target of 40 degrees and also demonstrate that it meets applicable ballistic requirements. NASA successfully completed the first booster qualification test in March 2015. The two full-scale tests provide crucial data to support booster qualification for the first two flights of SLS with NASA's Orion spacecraft. When completed, two five-segment boosters and four RS-25 main engines will power SLS, with Orion atop, on deep-space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars. The solid rocket boosters -- measuring 177 feet long and producing 3.6 million pounds of thrust -- operate in parallel with the main engines for the first two minutes of flight. The boosters provide more than 75 percent of the thrust needed for the launch vehicle to escape the gravitational pull of Earth. Orbital ATK is prime contractor for the SLS boosters.

Offline AnalogMan

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Date Set for Second Booster Qualification Ground Test
April 28, 2016 - Jennifer Harbaugh

A full-scale, test version of the booster for NASA's new rocket, the Space Launch System, will fire up for the second of two qualification ground tests June 28 at prime contractor Orbital ATK's test facility in Promontory, Utah

The test will provide NASA with critical data to support booster qualification for flight. The first, full-scale booster qualification ground test was successfully completed in March 2015, which demonstrated acceptable performance of the booster design at high-temperature conditions. The second test will measure the booster’s performance at a cold motor conditioning target of 40 degrees Fahrenheit – which is the colder end of its accepted propellant temperature range. Testing at the thermal extremes experienced by the booster on the launch pad is important to understand the effect of the temperature range on the ballistic performance of the propellant

When completed, two five-segment boosters and four RS-25 main engines will power the world's most powerful rocket, with the Orion spacecraft atop, to achieve human exploration to deep-space destinations, including our journey to Mars.

[Photograph taken April 9, 2016 Image Credit: Orbital ATK]

http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/multimedia/second-booster-qualification-ground-test
« Last Edit: 04/28/2016 10:59 PM by Lar »

Offline rocx

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June 28
conditioning target of 40 degrees Fahrenheit
Must be technically possible, but wouldn't it have been a lot easier to do this in January?
Any day with a rocket landing is a fantastic day.

Offline Calphor

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June 28
conditioning target of 40 degrees Fahrenheit
Must be technically possible, but wouldn't it have been a lot easier to do this in January?
One would think, however, considering that you are trying to cool 1.3Mlbs+ of propellant in a reasonable amount of time, a dedicated controlled cooling environment is actually easier (not cheaper). Besides, it also keeps the booster out of the elements and the local fauna away from the boosters. Especially the local cattle!

Offline wakka

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Could you tell me what is the principle used to go down to that temperature?

Offline AnalogMan

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Could you tell me what is the principle used to go down to that temperature?

This is how it has been done previously:
http://us.aggreko.com/news-events/press-releases/atk-rocket-test/

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