NASA publishes RFP for Ares I Rollercoaster escape system

by Chris Bergin

NASA has published its Request For Proposals (RFP) to potential contractors, ahead of the construction of the rollercoaster Emergency Egress System (EES), which was first revealed by this site last September.

The multi-million dollar system is a fully functioning rail car system that will be used by the astronauts and pad workers in the event of needing to escape the Ares I launch pad (Launch Complex 39B).
Huge amounts of VSE related insider news and presentations – THE most comprehensive place to follow Ares/Orion development – are available for download on L2. See list at the end of this article.


**ARES V / Mars Transport Vehicle (MTV) LIVE UPDATE PAGES**

**The September Rollercoaster Exclusive Article**

The RFP – which can be viewed in full by clicking this link – was finalized by NASA at the start of the year, following the approval of the NASA trade study’s findings that ranked the rollercoaster option as the preferred choice for the Ares I system.

While the trade study (available to download on L2) provided a variety of graphical representations, the RFP expanded on some of the technical requirements of the EES.

‘The Emergency Egress System (EES) is planned to provide a safe mode of emergency egress from the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) to a safe location via a multi-vehicle, rail system for the flight crew, closeout and contingency crews, and ground operations personnel,’ the presentation noted.

‘The rail system vehicles will have an entry point located on the crew access level of the yet to be designed Mobile Launcher Tower (MLT; ~367 ft. above ground level) and exit point at a safe location a distance of at least 1200 ft. west of entry point at ground level. The Architect and Engineering (A&E) firm will be responsible for the portion of the EES starting at the vehicle loading area on the MLT crew access level and ending at the safe location.

‘The MLT will provide the access to assemble, test, check out, service, transfer to the pad, launch, perform on-pad abort, and post launch securing of the Crew Launch Vehicle/CEV. The MLT will provide structural support for the vertical or near-vertical travel of the EES rails and rail vehicles as well as contain the loading area.

The requirements also listed the maximum amount of time that will be allotted for all personnel to be transported to an area of safety in the event of a serious problem with the vehicle.

‘The general requirements of the Emergency Egress System include, but are not limited to: the total egress time from CEV hatch to the safe location for 15 able-bodied personnel shall not exceed two minutes (with 30 seconds allotted for transport from the CEV to the EES vehicle loading area),’ added the RFP.

‘The system must be able to accommodate up to nine incapacitated crew/pad personnel to safely egress to the safe location; the system shall be capable of experiencing two (2) failures and still operate; the system shall remain operational after a total launch pad power failure.’

The RFP also noted that the system won’t be automatic at the pad end, requiring one person to initiate the railcars ride down to the bunker, which will automatically stop once it arrives.

Contractors have until April 20th to provide details of their proposals, which will include computer simulations of their concepts.

In other Ares I news, NASA has issued a request for proposal for the Ares I launch vehicle upper stage element. The upper stage proposals are due to Marshall Space Flight Center no later than 1 p.m. CST April 13, 2007.

The contract will provide for the manufacture and assembly of test articles, flight test units, and the operational upper stage elements to support NASA’s flight manifest through 2016. Final manufacturing and assembly will take place at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana.

NASA also selected Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International Inc. of Rockford, Ill., to design, develop, fabricate, test and deliver engineering models of a turbine pump assembly for the Ares I upper stage thrust vector control subsystem. The cost-plus-fixed-fee contract – a competitive award – has a two-year period of performance with a maximum value of $5,009,388.

L2 Resources For Ares I, V and Constellation:
DAC-1C Departure points to DAC-2 Upper Stage Graphcs (Many Changes). Orion/CEV Display Layout Presentation (40 pages) – Feb 5. ATK figures on the 5-Seg Booster weight for CLV – Feb 2. Weather Shield (Rain Shield) for Orion on the pad – Feb 1. New Super hi-res images of Ares I – Feb 1. ATK Cutaway graphics of Ares I – perspective and axonometric – Feb 1. Ares I/Orion CxP 72031 Requirements Validation Matrix Information. CEV Paracute Assembly System (CPAS) Presentation.

Orion Launch Abort System (LAS) overview presentation – Jan 16. Major changes to Ares I Upper Stage – expansive details and data. Ares I/Orion CxP 72031 Requirements Validation Matrix Information. Saturn Twang Test Video for use with Ares I-1R. CLV Umbilical Trade Matrix XLS.

Vehicle interfaces for the DAC 1C version of Orion Ares – Jan 3. Ares I-1R Test Flight Plan (full outline) Presentation. Ares I-1 timeline and modification expanded info. Ares I troubleshooting latest. Ares I Reference Trajectory. Boeing’s STS to Ares – Lessons Learned Presentation. Latest Ares I and Ares V baseline Configuration image and data. CLV DAC-1C (Changes to CLV Upper Stage).

Ares I-1: Four Seg+Dummy ‘Tuna Can’ stage. Ascent Developmental Flight Test Presentation. CLV Pad 39B Handover Info and Latest. New images of CLV on top of new MLP and LUT. Lockheed Martin CEV/Orion Updates. Constellation news updates. ATK figures on the 5-Seg Booster weight for CLV.

90 Minute Video of Constellation all hands meeting. CLV TIM Meeting Information. CLV/CaLV Infrastructure, Timelines and Information. Escape System Trade Study Presentation.

CEV-CLV Design Analysis Cycle Review (DAC-2) Presentation. Constellation SRR updates. CLV Stick – Troubleshooting/Alternatives/Updates. New CEV Images (include abort mode). Flight Design and Dynamics Division CEV update. CLV Mono-propellant RCS system. CEV pressurisation system review. CLV/CEV Configuration Images. The 2×3 Seg SRB Crew Launch Vehicle Option Presentation…plus more.

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