Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Orion Explore and Beyond-official NASA video

America's Rocket - Space Launch System Animation (2014)

Orion Program's SLS Rocket Already Being Fabricated;Engine Test Soon

Some components of the Orion Program's new Space Launch System rocket are already being fabricated by a giant tool at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility,New Orleans.Parts of the rocket's engine section and the Core Stage are being welded by the Vertical Weld Center,a massive tool that is three stories high and weighs 150 tons.The barrel that holds the rocket's four RS-25 main engines was completed in November.The VWC will also weld barrel panels together to produce whole barrels for the SLS Core Stage's two pressurised tanks,intertank and forward skirt.*
The SLS will include components that were also part of the Space Shuttle system's hardware.For example,the RS-25 engine was also the Space Shuttle's main engine,and the SLS will utilise the same two solid rocket boosters that the Space Shuttle used as well.An engine firing test was planned to occur before year's end at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Hancock County,Mississippi.An RS-25 engine was placed on the A-1 Test Stand at the Center in November,awaiting final preparation and activation work.*
The Boeing SLS Core Stage contains the rocket's cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellant for the main engines.The Core Stage will tower more than 200 feet high and have a diameter of 27.5 feet.*
A new engine controller is being produced for the RS-25 engines.The controller regulates valves that direct the flow of propellant to the engines,which determines the amount of thrust generated during an engine test.Propellant flow and engine thrust determine a spacecraft's speed and trajectory,NASA explains.The engine controller also regulates the engine's start-up sequence and shutdown sequence,critical to the proper operation of the sophisticated RS-25 engine under both normal and emergency conditions.)*
The RS-25 engine is a product of Aerojet Rocketdyne,a division of GenCorp.*

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Orion Splashdown-official NASA video

Orion Soars on First Flight Test-official NASA video

Onward To Deep Space:The Orion Spacecraft's Next Missions

The Orion spacecraft arrived in San Diego late Monday in the well deck of the USS Anchorage(LPD 23),an amphibious transport dock ship.It will now be trucked back to Kennedy Space Center,Florida for data retrieval and processing for reuse.The next flight of Orion is scheduled for December 17,2017.It is called Exploration Mission-1.EM-1 will be another unmanned mission.On this flight,Orion will be launched into a stable orbit around the Moon to demonstrate the integrated system performance of Orion with the new Space Launch System rocket.Much of NASA's focus between now and late 2017 will be on building and testing the SLS,led by the Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville,Alabama.*
The following space flight,in 2021,will be Exploration Mission-2,Orion's first manned mission.EM-2 will fly a crew of up to four astronauts farther into space than humans have gone before,in a test flight around the Moon.Of course we have orbited the Moon before,but not at the height Orion will achieve,which means humans will be farther from Earth on Orion than the Apollo astronauts ever got.*
After EM-2,the Asteroid Redirect Mission will involve capturing a small asteroid with a robotic spacecraft and relocating it to a stable lunar orbit for astronauts to rendezvous with and study.This activity will test new systems and capabilities needed for the exploration of Mars and its moons.*
The first mission to Mars will take place sometime in the 2030's,with Orion likely carrying an international crew on the eight month trip,their exploration vehicles having been prepositioned in orbit around Mars,and returning them to Earth.*
Until at least 2020,the International Space Station will continue preparing the way for long duration space flights such as the asteroid and Mars missions.The research being done and experience accumulated on the ISS will be critical to exploring the solar system on the Orion spacecraft.ISS even participated in Orion's first mission by using its sensors to provide surface winds data at the Orion recovery site.*
Between now and 2018,Boeing will be building the SLS Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage,which will boost Orion to the correct altitude and trajectory needed to send the spacecraft around the Moon to check out vital systems on the initial test flights,NASA said.The ICPS is a liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen-based system based on Boeing's Delta Cryogenic Second Stage already used on Orion's first test flight.The ICPS will be replaced by a larger,more powerful upper stage needed for the asteroid and Mars missions.At that point,the SLS will be the tallest and most powerful rocket ever made.Boeing is also building the Core Stage of the SLS,while Lockheed Martin is prime contractor for the Orion spacecraft itself.Lockheed will be making any modifications to Orion deemed necessary after analysis of the EFT-1 data.*
Boeing(BA),Lockheed Martin(LMT)