Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Space Launch System umbilical arm ready for testing

Date:
October 16, 2012
Source:
NASA
Summary:
System installation and integration of a test umbilical arm recently was completed at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Components of this arm eventually will be mounted on the new mobile launcher tower to support vital functions on the space agency's Space Launch System, or SLS, an advanced heavy-lift rocket that will provide the capability for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit.

With the umbilical mounted on a simulated portion of the launch umbilical tower at the Launch Equipment Test Facility, a complex series of simulations will follow.
Credit: NASA

System installation and integration of a test umbilical arm recently was completed at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Components of this arm eventually will be mounted on the new mobile launcher tower to support vital functions on the space agency's Space Launch System, or SLS, an advanced heavy-lift rocket that will provide the capability for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit.

A key element of NASA's plan for future exploration, SLS will boost the Orion spacecraft designed for crews of up to four astronauts traveling on deep space missions to asteroids and eventually Mars.

The test umbilical arm will support cryogenic, or super-cold, propellant loading for the new rocket's propulsion systems. It recently was mounted to the mobile launcher tower simulator at Kennedy's Launch Equipment Test Facility, or LETF, for further checkouts and simulations.

The results and lessons learned from the testing will be used to develop the next round of umbilical hardware. When testing is complete, some of the hardware will be re-used as part of the Orion service module umbilical on the mobile launcher.

The Orion spacecraft consists of two main parts: a conical crew module and a cylindrical service module holding the spacecraft's propulsion system and expendable supplies. The service module umbilical arm supports the primary power and environmental control systems of the spacecraft.

"Design work on the umbilical arm began in the 2008," said Steve Larsen, lead design engineer for liquid oxygen systems in NASA's Engineering and Technology Directorate. "The umbilical was originally developed as part of the Constellation program to provide propellant, pneumatic services, power and data connections to the Ares I launch vehicle. After this test we are planning to reconfigure the arm to provide the same for SLS."

After cancelation of the Constellation program, Kennedy's Ground Systems Development and Operations Program office funded fabrication of one umbilical system for testing in the LETF and potential use supporting future NASA launch vehicles.

In the summer of 2011, EMF Corp. of Merritt Island, Fla., received a contract to fabricate the umbilical arm. The company specializes in manufacturing and designing custom parts and assemblies for a variety of uses.

"After EMF delivered the arm to Kennedy, LETF technicians assembled the arm to its flight-like configuration and installed it for test activities," said Jeff Crisafulli, manager of NASA's Launch Equipment Test Facility.

With the umbilical arm attached to a simulated portion of the launch umbilical tower at the LETF, a complex series of simulations will follow.

"The primary objective of the tests will be to validate engineering analysis models involving the dynamics of the umbilical arm's retraction, stress and thermal conditions at the ground-to-flight interface," Larsen said. "We'll use the vehicle motion simulator in the LETF to simulate on-pad vehicle sway and lift-off."

Some secondary objectives include evaluating a new fault-tolerant quick disconnect, measuring the performance of a new type of insulation for environmental control system pipes, and assessing the viability of the technology for use on the Space Launch System.

"Since one of the major roles of the umbilical is to load cryogenic propellants for the launch vehicle's propulsion system, we'll perform tests at both ambient and cryogenic temperatures," Crisafulli said. "For this testing we plan to use liquid nitrogen which costs less, is readily available and far less hazardous than liquid hydrogen."

Liquid nitrogen is 321 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, compared to liquid oxygen at 368 degrees below zero and liquid hydrogen at 423 degrees below zero. These commodities bring challenges to hardware due to the extreme cold temperatures involved.

Crisafulli noted that an important focus is on the mechanical and electrical disconnects. "With safety and reliability among our primary concerns we want to be sure the system is 'fault tolerant,'" he said. "Altogether we plan to run more than 800 different tests with the vehicle motion simulator."

By engineering and designing the hardware to be "fault tolerant," it ensures the system will still work if one component fails.

"The way the umbilical arm is designed, it retracts away from the SLS rocket by tilting up rather than moving to the side or dropping down," Larsen said. "This allows the umbilical arm to track the vehicle as it is moving up if the primary release mechanism fails. The secondary release mechanism is passively engaged when the vehicle reaches a predetermined height."

While there is still much to do, Crisafulli believes their systems will be ready to support Orion and SLS when they are ready to fly.

"LETF testing is on the critical path for mobile launcher operational readiness," he said. "There are currently nine different umbilicals scheduled for qualification testing at the LETF. Once we complete all the needed simulations, we'll be ready to have the hardware installed on the mobile launcher tower. We'll be ready when Orion and SLS are ready to go."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA. "Space Launch System umbilical arm ready for testing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121016190647.htm>.
NASA. (2012, October 16). Space Launch System umbilical arm ready for testing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121016190647.htm
NASA. "Space Launch System umbilical arm ready for testing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121016190647.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins