NASA Constellation (CxP) has completed the two-week Integrated Stack (IS) Technical Interchange Meeting (TIM), which has cleared the way for the start of the PDR (Program Design Review) stage.
In tandem, engineers have wrapped their evaluations on the Orion weight issues, with the Orion Vehicle Engineering Integration Working Group (OVEIWG) completing the first stage of “buy back” capability to the ZBV (Zero Base Vehicle) Orion.
Huge amounts of VSE related insider news, presentations and videos – THE most comprehensive place to follow Ares/Orion development – are available for download on L2. See list at the end of this article.
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Confirming the end of the TIM, NASA sent out notes to program heads, claiming a number of ‘open issues’ have now been resolved – although the information failed to note exactly what issues have been removed from the evaluations.
‘The Constellation program has completed its two-week Integrated Stack Technical Interchange Meeting. A magnificent MOD (Mission Operations Directorate) team effort was made to cover several parallel splinter sessions,’ noted the information.
‘Across the program, a tremendous number of open issues were resolved, with a good bit of forward work to flow into the program design analysis cycle. The final outcome depends on approval of a directive at a couple upcoming Constellation Control Boards – and it is expected that some decisions will drive increased cost risk. We can summarize our outcome as follows:
‘1) No losses in vehicle operability. 2) Eliminated numerous TBD/TBRâ€™s in our Mission Systems requirements – primarily things that probably did not belong in the requirements documents. 3) A further refinement of the forward plan for the requirements.’
Ares I issues:
With regards to Ares I, NASA claim only a few ‘operability issues’ remain. However, there are still large scale design issues to be worked out, such as the nozzle redesign and trade studies on a decision relating to first stage expendability, with the latter noted as a 3000 lbs payload saving, via the deletion the recovery package – if adopted.
The TIM, discussing the issues as ‘Induced Environments: vibration and acoustic sound pressure,’ noted these are among the primary issues being worked. Solving the problem has led to the formation of a Tiger Team, tasked with reporting back on their findings in March, 08.
Other issues for Ares I include Upper Stage ‘Pogo’ concerns – which will likely see the addition of suppression system, and undesirably, mass. Also being evaluated is the potential of J-2X shutdown thrust transients, which could impose a minus 0.4 g tension loading, along with a plus or minus 0.4 g lateral loading, on the Upper Stage and the Orion Service Module.
On the positive side of the information, the ascent target for Ares I is now 10×100 nmi, up from the previously noted -11×100. In addition, confirmation was also noted that Ares V has been re-baselined with a 10 meter EDS (Earth Departure Stage) and 10 meter fairing, in response to the initial lunar design cycles.
Orion ZBV efforts:
Meanwhile, the Orion Project has completed adding back Level 1 (safety requirement) items, and is working with OVEIWG to assess Level 2 (operability and mission success) items.
Weight growth is now under control, but optimization will continue to avoid future threats. A strategy for implementing block updates is now in work to study improvements to later variants of Orion down the road.
‘A CxPO team briefed NASA HQ on results of the IS TIM and Orion’s OVEIWG weight scrub. Orion and Ares were given the go to start working to Preliminary Design Review (PDR), signifying an acceptable closure of the architecture and a successful System Definition Review (SDR),’ noted NASA documentation.
‘While there are a number of forward actions, the IS TIM directive closes a critical set of open issues, and signifies completion of Phase A for the flight elements. Mission Ops, Ground Ops, and EVA are scheduled to complete their SDR’s in the spring and we also look forward to entering Phase B.’
Mobile Launcher and Ares I-Y:
In other news, the Mobile Launcher (ML) is on track for its contract to be handed out, with an aim to start construction in February 2008. Work will run through December 2009, with ground support equipment installation from January 2010 through July 2011. Testing and activation of the systems is scheduled for October 2011 through March 2012 in preparation of Ares I-Y in September 2012.
All dates are liable for a few months delay, due to concerns over the schedule of the first test flight, Ares I-X, currently aiming for April, 2009.
The primary concerns for the Ares I ML are the lift-off drift curves, which is how far the vehicle can drift horizontally on launch do to wind. The concern is that the vehicle may impact the tower in higher than anticipated winds, leading to stingier weather requirements.
A multitude of reviews and discussions are taking place to determine the content of the Ares I-Y test flight. Ares I-Y will be the first flight of a production first stage, a real second stage without a J2-X, and a real Orion without a LAS (Launch Abort System).
An Operations Panel is looking into the ability for an increased role for the test flight, to be determined.
Meanwhile, the Constellation Program Excellence Team (PET) continues to address scenarios focused to increase the ESMD Headquarters and Constellation Program effectiveness by refining integrated headquarters, program and project roles, responsibilities, and processes.
‘Current roles and processes should be judged on their usefulness in achieving the Constellation mission. The PET reviewed and approved a proposed draft ESMD Level I Program Executives (PE’s) roles and responsibilities,’ note the PET leaders.
‘Future scenarios include a Construction of Facilities (CoF) approval process, updated Interface Requirements Documents (IRDs)/Interface Control Documents (ICDs) management structure and scope, NASA insight of NASA in-house work, and team working relationships. A Constellation Program Excellence Team face-to-face is being scheduled for the first week in December along with a Constellation Program retreat,’
The second Mission Operations (MO) Project Standing Review Board (SRB) Systems Definition Review (SDR) assessment was held on October 29 and 30. The board is pushing to lower operations costs and improve acquisition strategies by conducting an independent assessment.
MO has been – and continues to be – engaged with the ZBV operations assessment, flight software integration and production process, and an independent cost assessment process.
Selection of L2 Resources For Ares I, V and Constellation: Orion/Ares I/Atlas V Heavy NEO Feasibility Study (Video). Constellation EVA Study Presentation. Superb Gene Kranz address to CxP workforce (Apollo to Orion feature) video. MOD ‘LEO to Mars’ presentations.
Superb Ares I Launch Ascent, Pad Abort Test CGI Videos (three). Integrated Stack (IS) Technical Interchange Meeting (TIM) – Nov 6 to Nov 15. The full ‘8th Floor News’ – Constellation Update (performance issues) – Nov 5. Ares I Mobile Launcher PMR.
‘Proposed’ Ares I SRBSF (Mini VAB) and graphic. LSAM (LDAC-1) Video and Images. Several Constellation All Hands Videos and Presentations. Ares I Pad Rollercoaster (Old and New presentation and slides – the very cool ‘CGI ride on the Ares pad coaster’ video. Ares I VAB ‘In-Line’ Stacking presentation slides.
Presentation of Ares/Orion impacts relating to Shuttle manifest acceleration. Ares I Interstage diagrams. Ares V Super Crawler. Ares I Launch Pad images (ML etc.) Hi Res images of Ares I-X Upper Stage. Orion 606-7 Data Updates. Updates Constellation launch schedule through to Orion 15. Orion Seat test photos. New ML Graphic and info. New Ares V graphic and baseline data. Large collection of hi res Orion paracute drop tests. SIX Part Series of Ares I Upper Stage Graphical Overviews. DAC-1C DDD Vast Slides on Vehicle Design. ATK First Stage Presentation. 39B Lightning Towers Slides. DAC-1C Departure points to DAC-2 Upper Stage Graphcs (Many Changes).
Orion/CEV Display Layout Presentation (40 pages). ATK figures on the 5-Seg Booster weight for CLV. Weather Shield (Rain Shield) for Orion on the pad. New Super hi-res images of Ares I. ATK Cutaway graphics of Ares I – perspective and axonometric. Ares I/Orion CxP 72031 Requirements Validation Matrix Information. CEV Paracute Assembly System (CPAS) Presentation.
Orion Launch Abort System (LAS) overview presentation. Changes to Ares I Upper Stage – expansive details and data. Ares I/Orion CxP 72031 Requirements Validation Matrix Information. CLV Umbilical Trade Matrix XLS. Vehicle interfaces for the DAC 1C version of Orion Ares. Ares I-X Test Flight Plan (full outline) Presentation. Ares I-X timeline and modification expanded info. Ares I Reference Trajectory. Boeing’s STS to Ares – Lessons Learned Presentation. CLV DAC-1C (Changes to CLV Upper Stage).
Ares I-X: 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. ATK figures on the 5-Seg Booster weight for CLV.
90 Minute Video of Constellation all hands meeting. Escape System Trade Study Presentation. CEV-CLV Design Analysis Cycle Review (DAC-2) Presentation. 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.