NASA studies private jet control panels for Orion

by Chris Bergin

While Orion may look like a beefed up Apollo on the outside, the interior of the shuttle replacement vehicle – that will travel to the moon and Mars – will be world’s apart.

NASA is attempting to construct the majority of Orion’s control panel layout from off-the-shelf parts, noted in the newly acquired CEV Display Layout presentation, which openly utilizes Gulfstream V SP and Dassault Falcon business jet panel layouts as preferred options for Orion.
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 layout is somewhat based on the ‘glass-cockpit’ used on the shuttle orbiter fleet, but with a completely different arrangement and appearance. Yet to be finalised, the cockpit may have as few as three displays, or as many as six, with different combinations.

Within the 40 page presentation (available to download on L2) the design team noted they were concerned that currently baselined ‘3 DU’ layout would not give astronauts the required view of the controls, which led to a trade study approach to what will become the final layout.

The discussions on the prefer option began back in December of last year, although the process is expected to last through to the end of this year, with the drivers ranging from commonality and upgradeability.

Proposed Layout 1: ‘Small Glass’ approach. 604a D & C Panel with 6 DU 1080 displays. This layout would have 2-6 cold plates total, no middle keypad and tight knee clearance. This configuration would add 77 pounds to the vehicle but would also give the operators two ‘owned’ and two ‘shared’ displays. The DU 1080 is currently in use with the Dassault Falcon jet.

‘Concerns: Enough glass for required density of information. Lose screen space to edge key labels. Edge key bezels cost D&C panel real estate,’ noted the presentation.

‘Benefits: High degree of experience – Display design & Operational. Simpler display formats/Less s/w intensive. Two modes of display nav/control. Bezel controls and Reach Zone 1 controls.’

Proposed Layout 2: ‘Big Glass’ approach. This layout would consist of four 11 inch by 8.5 inch displays made by Honeywell. This layout would only have one cold plate for each screen, no middle keypad and acceptable kneepad clearance.

While this option would add only 23 pounds to the vehicle, it would only allow for one screen per operator. The DU 1310 is currently in use with the Gulfstream G550.

‘Concerns: Not been employed in spacecraft application before. Higher tech risk? More software intensive – Higher cost/schedule risk? Loss of single display more critical (1/3 of screens).

‘Benefits: More flexible display design. Greater data/controls density expected. Potential to give up bezel controls. More D&C panel space.’

Some of the obvious improvements over the Apollo Command Module are the lack of toggle and physical switches or knobs. The toggle switch that initiated the ascent stage of the Lunar Module was broken off during Apollo 11, jeopardizing both the mission and the astronaut’s lives.

The Orion will have systems designed for redundancy, easy upgrades and single operator use. All of these features allow for greater reliability and survivability in case of an emergency. This would be a vast improvement over the Apollo CM.

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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