Author Topic: MAF Roadmap: Preparing the SLS first core stages for testing and flight  (Read 7478 times)

Online Chris Bergin

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/08/sls-roadmap-first-core-stages-testing-flight/

Superb feature from Philip Sloss from his visit to MAF. Lots of his photos, L2 content and some Nathan L2 renders for good measure :)

But it's quote-heavy, so a lot of info in this.

Offline Stardust9906

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Great article lovely to see it all coming together.

Offline Khadgars

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Very intriguing article!  So, did I read it correctly, that by about this time next year (Sept 2017) we will have a fully integrated flight Core Stage?  That's right around the corner folks  ;D

Offline Csnyder65

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Great article! Question: is the Cork placed on the Engine covering real Cork?

Offline Pheogh

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Great Article Philip!!! Incredible to see this all come together after so many years and so many conversations. Would love to know more details about the Thrust structure. I'm also curious how the production methods of this tank compare to the Shuttle era ET. We always knew they would be different beasts but would love to know more specifics.
« Last Edit: 08/30/2016 12:16 PM by Chris Bergin »

Online NaN

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Great article, thank you for the detail. May need to read it a second time.

I gather from the article that the core stage STA is comprised of 3 parts; engines, LH2 tank, LOX tank, and that they all receive independent tests and are not integrated for the structural testing?

And the final core stage flight article will fit on Pegasus even though they can't fit the LH2 STA and the LOX STA on the same barge run?

Offline Khadgars

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From the article...
Quote
The Green Run test is a major milestone for Core Stage flight/launch readiness and the EM-1 flight stage will be structurally bolted to the B-2 test stand at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi at the same points it will be attached to the rest of the SLS vehicle.

The structural qualification tests that the STAs will be involved in at Marshall will not only clear the elements structurally for launch but also clear a subset of structures for the hot-fire test.

Quick questions.  They are producing STA's of the hydrogen and oxygen tanks, which are getting primer & foam sprays.  Are the STA going to the B-2 test stand or are the flight articles going to the B-2 test stand for the hot fire test?

Edit: Read it again.  The STA's need to be tested before the flight articles are placed on the B-2 test stand for a hot fire test.  Please correct me if I got this wrong  ;)

« Last Edit: 08/29/2016 10:47 PM by Khadgars »

Offline psloss

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There are STAs for all five elements (well, there will be); those go to Marshall and will be tested independently:
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/11/new-sls-test-stands-rise-marshall/

Attached graphic shows each element with corresponding simulator(s), two each except for the engine section.
« Last Edit: 08/30/2016 12:02 AM by psloss »

Offline rayleighscatter

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Coincidental timing from NASA. The core stage transporters were received at MAF this summer and they've been test driving them lately.

Quote
Any fitness expert will say it is important to take care of your body’s core. Any engineer will say the same about rockets.

Before NASA’s Space Launch System – the most powerful rocket in the world – can exercise its core “muscles” and climb off the launch pad, its core stage and test articles have to be moved to various NASA centers for testing, assembly with other components and eventually launch. That's where the agency’s newest transporters enter the picture.

These are no ordinary trucks. An American company designed and built the highly specialized, mobile platforms specifically to transport the 212-foot SLS core stage, the largest part of the 322-foot SLS rocket that will send humans aboard the Orion spacecraft into deep space.

“We wanted something modular and multipurpose, so that it is not only capable of carrying the massive core stage of the Space Launch System but also moving other hardware NASA will need for the journey to Mars,” said Chris Bramon, the SLS operations disciplines lead engineer in the Mission Operations Laboratory at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “This transportation system will work for many generations of rockets, safely moving valuable space hardware needed for NASA’s boldest missions.”

This summer, four transporters were delivered to NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans where the five sections that make up the core stage are being manufactured. The transporters were designed and built by Wheelift of Waterloo, Iowa, where they were named Elpis, Novus, Pandora and Aegis through a company-hosted contest. The transporters will carry the core stage down roads and on and off the Pegasus barge for shipping to test and launch sites.

“The delivery and testing of the transporters mark several years of hard work by engineers at Marshall and Wheelift designing transporters that can move critical spaceflight hardware,” said Greg Parrish, Marshall’s project manager for the transporters. “Right now, we are in the process of checking them out by testing them with simulated hardware to assure they work properly and safely.”

Known as self-propelled modular transporters, the haulers will carry three test articles of the core stage – the liquid hydrogen tank, liquid oxygen tank and intertank – individually for testing and as a fully integrated core stage with the engine section and forward skirt. When moving the payloads, the four transporters are arranged in pairs, with one pair supporting each end.

Each transporter is over 33 feet long and 12 feet wide and can carry 75 tons each, the equivalent to 14 fully-grown elephants. On each transporter, the 12 independent, electric wheel modules are powered by a propane-driven Chevy 350 cubic inch small block engine. The transporters can position the cargo to within 5 one-thousandths of an inch – that’s less than the size of a grain of sand. In addition to being strong and very agile, each transporter is safe; they contain systems to monitor and control the forces imparted into the delicate hardware and a fire suppression system in the event of emergencies.

A key element of the transporters is the capacity to distribute the weight of the payloads equally to each of the 48 wheel modules. The empty core stage weighs approximately 94 tons and is over 200 feet long and more than 27 feet in diameter. That is the equivalent of a three-story tall building stretching from the goal line to the opposite 30-yard line on an American football field. The transporters work together wirelessly, forming what is known as a virtual strong-back, which keeps the large, precision built payload from bending or twisting during transportation.

Before it’s time to load and go, the transporters are programmed to work together to haul the specific payload. When it’s time to go, an operator walking alongside the transporters uses a joystick and control box called a “belly pack” to move them underneath the payload. The payload is lowered to within a few inches of the hardware interface structure and pallet -- a rocket cradle system designed and developed at Marshall. Final alignment is made, and the payload is secured.

Acting as one unit, the transporters then set off down the road, precious cargo aboard. With a top speed of just over one mile per hour, the system will steadily and carefully move the rocket elements down roads and on and off the Pegasus barge. Once on the barge, the transporters can remain aboard for water transit or be removed and trucked to the destination for rendezvous with their payloads and cradle system.

During transport, the hardware interface structure and the multiple purpose carrier serve both as the interface between the payload and the transporters and allows the load to move on the transporters. Movement is allowed because the varying terrain, such as a levee, along the transport patch will require the system to ascend and descend a four percent grade and turn corners. By allowing the load to move relative to the transporters and monitoring that movement, engineers can help ensure the rocket will not be damaged during transit.

“We’re going to be able to transport an entire fully integrated core stage from Michoud to Kennedy Space Center in Florida where it will be assembled with the other parts of the SLS rocket,” said David Adcock, the SLS Stages Office's ground support equipment cost accounting manager at Marshall. “The transporter will drive right onto the Pegasus barge and head to Kennedy. When NASA takes possession of the core stage, they will have a fully integrated core stage, ready for flight, and that saves time and money.”

The SLS test articles will travel from Michoud to Marshall, and the flight article will travel to NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The first flight-ready core stage is expected to arrive at Kennedy Space Center in 2018 when the rocket will flex its muscles for the first time, an important milestone for the journey to Mars that would not be possible without the specialized transporters to move and protect the rocket’s core.

Online Chris Bergin

Coincidental timing from NASA. The core stage transporters were received at MAF this summer and they've been test driving them lately.

That'll be these:

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/?s=SPMT

Offline Welsh Dragon

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The article only uses imperial units. Can metric units be included, for, well... the entire world? Good article, but let down by its parochial use of units.

Offline BrianNH

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What a great article.  I learned a lot from this one.  Thanks!

Online Chris Bergin

The article only uses imperial units. Can metric units be included, for, well... the entire world? Good article, but let down by its parochial use of units.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but out of the 2,500 word article, the only measurement reference I could find was:

"In contrast to the Shuttle External Tank which had a single, 17-inch diameter LO2 feedline for three engines, the SLS Core Stage has two 16-inch diameter feedlines to feed oxidizer to the four RS-25, Shuttle-heritage engines."

Offline Mark S

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The article only uses imperial units. Can metric units be included, for, well... the entire world? Good article, but let down by its parochial use of units.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but out of the 2,500 word article, the only measurement reference I could find was:

"In contrast to the Shuttle External Tank which had a single, 17-inch diameter LO2 feedline for three engines, the SLS Core Stage has two 16-inch diameter feedlines to feed oxidizer to the four RS-25, Shuttle-heritage engines."

Also:

Quote
At over two-hundred feet in length, the Core Stage is too tall to be vertically stacked all at once, in even the monster buildings at MAF.

Emphasis mine. Still a pretty minor nit to pick. Not to mention that NASA is using Imperial measures internally for all aspects of the SLS/MPCV programs.

I'm just glad we're getting to the point where the measurements are of actual physical items, regardless of the units used. :)


Offline Rocket Science

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Great article Philip, thank you for your endeavors! :)
« Last Edit: 08/31/2016 01:18 AM by Rocket Science »
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob: Physics instructor, Aviator, Vintage auto racer

Offline Welsh Dragon

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The article only uses imperial units. Can metric units be included, for, well... the entire world? Good article, but let down by its parochial use of units.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but out of the 2,500 word article, the only measurement reference I could find was:

"In contrast to the Shuttle External Tank which had a single, 17-inch diameter LO2 feedline for three engines, the SLS Core Stage has two 16-inch diameter feedlines to feed oxidizer to the four RS-25, Shuttle-heritage engines."

"The 130-foot long LH2 tank STA was recently welded and after being removed from the VAC" The number of times it's used doesn't really matter, just pointing out you're at risk of alienating your international audience, who won't have a clue how long a foot is.

Online woods170

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The article only uses imperial units. Can metric units be included, for, well... the entire world? Good article, but let down by its parochial use of units.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but out of the 2,500 word article, the only measurement reference I could find was:

"In contrast to the Shuttle External Tank which had a single, 17-inch diameter LO2 feedline for three engines, the SLS Core Stage has two 16-inch diameter feedlines to feed oxidizer to the four RS-25, Shuttle-heritage engines."

"The 130-foot long LH2 tank STA was recently welded and after being removed from the VAC" The number of times it's used doesn't really matter, just pointing out you're at risk of alienating your international audience, who won't have a clue how long a foot is.
The average reader, and most certainly the average poster, at NSF is perfectly capable of Googling for X-to-metric unit converters.

Oh, and [email protected]: Great article again!
« Last Edit: 08/31/2016 02:22 PM by woods170 »

Online Chris Bergin

The article only uses imperial units. Can metric units be included, for, well... the entire world? Good article, but let down by its parochial use of units.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but out of the 2,500 word article, the only measurement reference I could find was:

"In contrast to the Shuttle External Tank which had a single, 17-inch diameter LO2 feedline for three engines, the SLS Core Stage has two 16-inch diameter feedlines to feed oxidizer to the four RS-25, Shuttle-heritage engines."

"The 130-foot long LH2 tank STA was recently welded and after being removed from the VAC" The number of times it's used doesn't really matter, just pointing out you're at risk of alienating your international audience, who won't have a clue how long a foot is.

But it's the standard NASA use (so that's an immediate reason for this use) and I'm English and always say I'm six feet tall, not 1.82 metres tall. Last time I checked....if fact, I just texted a mate in Wrexham and he backed me up on that with the same. Don't know if it's an age thing and you're trying to make me feel old, you sod! ;D ...anyway.

I can imagine we'd get far more than one complaint if we wrote "The 39.624-meter long LH2 tank STA" - or worse still the "43.18 cm diameter LO2 feedline" <---because all documentation and references actually *name* the feedlines that way with the inches - as in it's their name, not just a measurement. Even putting that in brackets next to the original measurements is just messy and unnecessary. And then you have consider this is about American hardware to an audience that is 80+ percent American. That's why we spell things the American way too, you "realize". ;)

But as Woods say, people of varying knowledge will be googling elements of articles we write as we write in a technical fashion. Please tell me that wasn't your only take home from this amazing effort from Philip...in a "Hmmm, so MAF is going to do that, interesting. Oh and I see SLS will be....WAIT A MINUTE. FEET, WTH ARE FEET!!" ;)

Online RonM

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The article only uses imperial units. Can metric units be included, for, well... the entire world? Good article, but let down by its parochial use of units.

As has been mentioned by previous replies, it's the units NASA uses. To be precise, the United States does not use Imperial units, we use US customary units. Imperial units were adopted in 1824, long after US independence. Both are derived from English units, but there are some differences.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_and_US_customary_measurement_systems

Unfortunately, my fellow citizens resisted metrification and we're stuck with customary units. The metric system is far easier to use once you get use to it.

Great article. While I have concerns about how Congress is handling the SLS and Orion programs, I can't wait to see this rocket fly.

Offline Welsh Dragon

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The article only uses imperial units. Can metric units be included, for, well... the entire world? Good article, but let down by its parochial use of units.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but out of the 2,500 word article, the only measurement reference I could find was:

"In contrast to the Shuttle External Tank which had a single, 17-inch diameter LO2 feedline for three engines, the SLS Core Stage has two 16-inch diameter feedlines to feed oxidizer to the four RS-25, Shuttle-heritage engines."

"The 130-foot long LH2 tank STA was recently welded and after being removed from the VAC" The number of times it's used doesn't really matter, just pointing out you're at risk of alienating your international audience, who won't have a clue how long a foot is.

But it's the standard NASA use (so that's an immediate reason for this use) and I'm English and always say I'm six feet tall, not 1.82 metres tall. Last time I checked....if fact, I just texted a mate in Wrexham and he backed me up on that with the same. Don't know if it's an age thing and you're trying to make me feel old, you sod! ;D ...anyway.

I can imagine we'd get far more than one complaint if we wrote "The 39.624-meter long LH2 tank STA" - or worse still the "43.18 cm diameter LO2 feedline" <---because all documentation and references actually *name* the feedlines that way with the inches - as in it's their name, not just a measurement. Even putting that in brackets next to the original measurements is just messy and unnecessary. And then you have consider this is about American hardware to an audience that is 80+ percent American. That's why we spell things the American way too, you "realize". ;)

But as Woods say, people of varying knowledge will be googling elements of articles we write as we write in a technical fashion. Please tell me that wasn't your only take home from this amazing effort from Philip...in a "Hmmm, so MAF is going to do that, interesting. Oh and I see SLS will be....WAIT A MINUTE. FEET, WTH ARE FEET!!" ;)
I said it was a great article, so don't go and guilt trip me! What you say is all true. But why would you need to force your reader to use a converter? How much effort can it be just to go '16" (40.6 cm)'? It's not either/or you know. I really don't see how that's messy or unnecessary, it's common practise. But never mind, I'll drop it.

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