MSFC merger aimed at Shuttle/Ares transition

by Chris Bergin

Two departments at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) have merged in a move that sets up the NASA center for the transition from the space shuttle to Ares.

The move sees the Shuttle Propulsion Office’s motor (RSRM) and booster (SRB) departments merge into the singular Reusable Solid Rocket Booster (RSRB) Project Office, which will carry through to the next decade with the Ares I first stage booster.
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Deputy manager of the Space Shuttle Program, Robert Lightfoot, started the merger a year ago, which – now completed – is one of a number of moves that will be activated throughout the NASA and shuttle contractor centers.

‘The RSRB merger team’s focus was to proactively address workforce and skills required to successfully fly out the shuttle in 2010,’ noted MSFC information. ‘In parallel with this critical effort, it is important for the shuttle propulsion projects and the exploration launch office to be able to share skills, enhance communication and leverage the knowledge between both programs.

‘The exploration office is responsible for design and development of Ares I, which uses a single five-segment reusable solid rocket booster – a derivative of the space shuttle’s four-segment booster – for the launch vehicle’s first stage.’

The RSRM Project Office combines all the elements of the previous departments, including Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate and the Engineering Directorate. Similar moves are being mentioned for JSC (Johnson Space Center) MOD (Mission Operations Directorate) departments, as the 2010 retirement date for the shuttle closes in.

‘Success of both the Shuttle Propulsion Office and Ares I is dependent upon our ability to leverage knowledge and skills between the two organizations,’ said Lightfoot to the Marshall Star.

Although Ares I is still many years away from flying, baseline development is underway between NASA Constellation and the booster’s manufacturers, ATK.

‘The RSRB merger strengthens the shuttle team and has established a future plan by allowing the direct sharing of subsystem managers in motor, booster and Ares I,’ added Jody Singer, who leads the new RSRB Project Office.

‘The new organization reduces and clarifies the shuttle interface points with Ares, engineering and safety, and establishes a direct, co-located environment for sharing lessons learned.

‘On a more immediate level, combining the motor and booster offices in the Shuttle Propulsion Office results in an organization that can better use civil service skills and helps us better address and minimize critical vacancies.

‘It also helps us eliminate redundancies between the two offices and better transition into the future.’

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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).

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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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