Author Topic: Boeing complete SLS Pathfinder Tank as MAF ET operations end  (Read 19508 times)

Online Chris Bergin

One of two SLS articles that we've been working via L2. Next one early next week.

This one is mainly hardware, noting the Boeing SLS Pathfinder, MAF tooling and MAF "transition".

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/08/boeing-complete-sls-pathfinder-tank-maf-et-operations-end/

Offline clongton

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Interesting article Chris - thanks. More progress to watch.
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I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline edkyle99

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One of two SLS articles that we've been working via L2. Next one early next week.

This one is mainly hardware, noting the Boeing SLS Pathfinder, MAF tooling and MAF "transition".

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/08/boeing-complete-sls-pathfinder-tank-maf-et-operations-end/

There's the Ares I pathfinder LOX tank.  ... 

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Tim S

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No Ed Kyle. There's the SLS Pathfinder LOX Tank. As much as you'd love Ares I to come back, this has been explained to you this is NOT Ares, this is for SLS, and was subscale for a reason.
« Last Edit: 08/27/2011 03:48 AM by Tim S »

Online Chris Bergin

Yeah, although it's very clever of Boeing to use their Ares US contract to build this subscale 5.5m tank to practise the 8.4m SLS tankage construction.

You can understand the Ares US comments we had when we first ran the memos and pictures on L2, but then it was explained as to why via the use of the Upper Stage Production Contract (USPC).

But its name is the SLS Pathfinder.

Offline MATTBLAK

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There has GOT to be some way they can turn this into reality! Even though some higher-ups are resisting this, the SLS CAN be done with existing technology and know-how to acheive not a Battlestar/Ares V, but something sensible with a clear upgrade path. The next step is to see how to do all this without making the naysayers wildest cost estimates come true!
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Offline edkyle99

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No Ed Kyle. There's the SLS Pathfinder LOX Tank. As much as you'd love Ares I to come back, this has been explained to you this is NOT Ares, this is for SLS, and was subscale for a reason.

NASA can call it whatever it wants to call it, but its real origin is quite clear.  It is 5.5 meters diameter, its plans and tooling having previously been devised for Ares I.  If it was a real SLS pathfinder tank, it would be 8.4 meters or whatever diameter.  Unless SLS is being shrunk down to 5.5 meters?

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 08/27/2011 04:09 AM by edkyle99 »

Offline Jason Sole

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Another very good article Chris!

There has GOT to be some way they can turn this into reality! Even though some higher-ups are resisting this, the SLS CAN be done with existing technology and know-how to acheive not a Battlestar/Ares V, but something sensible with a clear upgrade path. The next step is to see how to do all this without making the naysayers wildest cost estimates come true!

Well yes! I thought the language Boeing used was excellent. They weren't hiding away from it like some, and even mentioned how Congress agreed it :)

Lots of Boeing love from me for that!

Offline RocketEconomist327

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Thank you to all of the NASA and contractor engineers, scientists, and support personnel who served the American space program so diligently.

We are all blessed and thankful for your service.

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You can talk about all the great things you can do, or want to do, in space; but unless the rocket scientists get a sound understanding of economics (and quickly), the US space program will never achieve the greatness it should.

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Offline MATTBLAK

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No Ed Kyle. There's the SLS Pathfinder LOX Tank. As much as you'd love Ares I to come back, this has been explained to you this is NOT Ares, this is for SLS, and was subscale for a reason.

NASA can call it whatever it wants to call it, but its real origin is quite clear.  It is 5.5 meters diameter, its plans and tooling having previously been devised for Ares I.  If it was a real SLS pathfinder tank, it would be 8.4 meters or whatever diameter.  Unless SLS is being shrunk down to 5.5 meters?

 - Ed Kyle

No, I think they were just saving money by using what was 'lying around', Ed. The next pathfinder tank should be 8.4m, unless the upper stage decision ends up being a clear derivative of the Ares 1 upper stage; perhaps lengthened slightly for more propellant for SLS' EDS duties.
« Last Edit: 08/27/2011 04:17 AM by MATTBLAK »
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Offline DDG40

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No Ed Kyle. There's the SLS Pathfinder LOX Tank. As much as you'd love Ares I to come back, this has been explained to you this is NOT Ares, this is for SLS, and was subscale for a reason.

NASA can call it whatever it wants to call it, but its real origin is quite clear.  It is 5.5 meters diameter, its plans and tooling having previously been devised for Ares I.  If it was a real SLS pathfinder tank, it would be 8.4 meters or whatever diameter.  Unless SLS is being shrunk down to 5.5 meters?

 - Ed Kyle

No, I think they were just saving money by using what was 'lying around', Ed. The next pathfinder tank should be 8.4m, unless the upper stage decision ends up being a clear derivative of the Ares 1 upper stage; perhaps lengthened slightly for more propellant for SLS' EDS duties.

This is just a guess but I believe the smaller pathfinder is a study on welding of the new spun dome. The patherfinder might have a new type flange.
I have seen the pathfinder and it has 2 different type domes on it. The gore panel dome and the spun dome.
« Last Edit: 08/27/2011 04:42 AM by DDG40 »

Offline Lars_J

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Testing new methods of tank manufacturing is a good thing. But if the 8.4m SLS stage 1 tank will be built with new technologies, the Shuttle heritage of the tank is slipping away. But don't take that as a bad comment - it is encouraging to see actual hardware, and more efficient ways to build it.
« Last Edit: 08/27/2011 04:36 AM by Lars_J »

Offline sdsds

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Hmm.  How many of the SLS 8.4m tank domes will be spin-formed?  Zero would be comfortable guess.  So is this tank really an SLS pathfinder, or is it just named the SLS pathfinder?

Nonetheless this is another Great Article, Chris!  Just the right level of detail, even showing a photo of some amazing ET 8.4m tank weld apparatus.
-- sdsds --

Offline Prober

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Offline STS Tony

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Another very interesting article. Great to see things moving on. Feel terrible for the lost MAF people. Heroes of the schedule for Shuttle in those 2007-9 years.

Offline Stardust9906

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Great article Chris.  Glad to see that we are seeing some progress with SLS.

Offline Martin FL

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Very nice write up Chris!

Offline hydra9

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Boeing has been a strong  advocate for building a heavy lift vehicle. I applaud their dedication towards moving HV development along-- despite the reluctance of the White House to seriously get going with its agreed commitment to  SLS program.

Marcel F. Williams

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Thanks Chris for showing that NASA is actually spending SLS funds on SLS tasks.

I noticed one thing that may have escaped most. That the core is not really going to be an modified ET but a modern tech tank and structure although the diameter is common to that of the ET so that the handling tooling is the same as what was used on the ET. The welding systems are being replaced to be able to use modern tank welding practices.

All of this points to a less expensive and less manpower intensive manufacturing of the core than what occured on the ET. Also since the new processes are different any retained or rehired personnel would have to be trained on the new processes.

Offline Harold KSC

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Thanks Chris for showing that NASA is actually spending SLS funds on SLS tasks.


Just a point on this. There are no real SLS funds allocated. The delaying tactic from Bolden and company means they are trying to force the SLS funds into helping their commercial friends, who now apparently want more (so much for their projections).

Boeing and others are fighting back and spending their own time and  money to push this forward. This is clever as because of the delays by Bolden and company, money was wasted on the cancelled Constellation program. They have converted that contracted money into SLS work. A genius move.

And yes, Boeing are a commercial company, so this is very telling about the confidence in SLS. Look at their statements in Chris's very good article.

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