marshall space

Testing Time for the SLS Engine Section

In schools across the country, many students just finished final exams. Now, part of the world’s most powerful rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), is about to feel the pressure of testing time. The first SLS engine section has been moving slowly upriver from Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans, but once the barge Pegasus docks at our Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the real strength test for the engine section will get started.

The engine section is the first of four of the major parts of the core stage that are being tested to make sure SLS is ready for the challenges of spaceflight.

The engine section is located at the bottom of the rocket. It has a couple of important jobs. It holds the four RS-25 liquid propellant engines, and it serves as one of two attach points for each of the twin solid propellant boosters. This first engine section will be used only for ground testing. 

Of all the major parts of the rocket, the engine section gets perhaps the roughest workout during launch. Millions of pounds of core stage are pushing down, while the engines are pushing up with millions of pounds of thrust, and the boosters are tugging at it from both sides. That’s a lot of stress. Maybe that’s why there’s a saying in the rocket business: “Test like you fly, and fly like you test.”

After it was welded at Michoud, technicians installed the thrust structure, engine supports and other internal equipment and loaded it aboard the Pegasus for shipment to Marshall.

Once used to transport space shuttle external tanks, Pegasus was modified for the longer SLS core stage by removing 115 feet out of the middle of the barge and added a new 165-foot section with a reinforced main deck. Now as long as a football field, Pegasus – with the help of two tugboats – will transport core stage test articles to Marshall Space Flight Center as well as completed core stages to Stennis Space Center in Mississippi for test firing and then to Kennedy Space Center for launch.

The test article has no engines, cabling, or computers, but it will replicate all the structures that will undergo the extreme physical forces of launch. The test article is more than 30 feet tall, and weighs about 70,000 pounds. About 3,200 sensors attached to the test article will measure the stress during 59 separate tests. Flight-like physical forces will be applied through simulators and adaptors standing in for the liquid hydrogen tank and RS-25 engines.

The test fixture that will surround and secure the engine section weighs about 1.5 million pounds and is taller than a 5-story building. Fifty-five big pistons called “load lines” will impart more than 4.5 million pounds of force vertically and more than 428,000 pounds from the side.

The engineers and their computer design tools say the engine section can handle the stress.  It’s the test team’s job prove that it can.

For more information about the powerful SLS rocket, check out: http://nasa.gov/SLS. 

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com/

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     Meet SA-500D, the first Saturn V rocket. Wernher von Braun designed her as the dynamic test article for the program. She was assembled stage by stage inside the Dynamic Test Stand at NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center, then subjected to lateral, longitudinal, and torsional vibrations equal of that of launch for a total of 450 hours.

     The first time I visited SA-500D in 1999, she was outside on the US Space and Rocket Center property. Her paint was faded and worn, having sat there since 1969. In 2005, full restoration began, and she was moved inside her new facility, the Davidson Center for Space Exploration in Huntsville, Alabama. I’m happy to report that as of Sunday, April 27, 2014, she looks great. Viewing the newly restored rocket is magnitudes more impactful. The difference is incredible.

Take a Virtual Tour of NASA

Welcome to NASA! Today, we’re taking you behind-the-scenes for a virtual tour looking at our cutting-edge work and humanity’s destiny in deep space!

Starting at 1:30 p.m., we will host a series of Facebook Live events from each of our 10 field centers across the country. Take a look at where we’ll be taking you…

Glenn Research Center
1:30 p.m. EDT

Our Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH will host a tour of its Electric Propulsion Lab. This lab is where we test solar propulsion technologies that are critical to powering spacecraft for our deep-space missions. The Electric Propulsion Laboratory houses two huge vacuum chambers that simulate the space environment.

Marshall Space Flight Center
1:50 p.m. EDT

Our Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL will host a tour from a Marshall test stand where structural loads testing is performed on parts of our Space Launch System rocket. Once built, this will be the world’s most powerful rocket and will launch humans farther into space than ever before.

Stennis Space Center
2:10 p.m. EDT

Our Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, MS will take viewers on a tour of their test stands to learn about rocket engine testing from their Test Control Center.

Armstrong Flight Research Center
2:30 p.m. EDT 

Our Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, CA will host a tour from their aircraft hangar and Simulator Lab where viewers can learn about our X-Planes program. What’s an X-Plane? They are a variety of flight demonstration vehicles that are used to test advanced technologies and revolutionary designs.

Johnson Space Center
2:50 p.m. EDT

Our Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX will take viewers on a virtual exploration trip through the mockups of the International Space Station and inside our deep-space exploration vehicle, the Orion spacecraft!

Ames Research Center
3:10 p.m. EDT

Our Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley will bring viewers into its Arc Jet Facility, a plasma wind tunnel used to simulate the extreme heat of spacecraft atmospheric entry.

Kennedy Space Center
3:30 p.m. EDT

Our Kennedy Space Center in Florida will bring viewers inside the Vehicle Assembly Building to learn about how we’re preparing for the first launch of America’s next big rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

Langley Research Center
3:50 p.m. EDT

Our Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia will bring viewers inside its 14-by-22-foot wind tunnel, where aerodynamic projects are tested.

Goddard Space Flight Center
4:10 p.m. EDT

Our Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD will discuss the upcoming United States total solar eclipse and host its tour from the Space Weather Lab, a large multi-screen room where data from the sun is analyzed and studied.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4:30 p.m. EDT

Our Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA will bring viewers to the Spacecraft Assembly Facility to learn about robotic exploration of the solar system.

So, make sure to join us for all or part of our virtual tour today, starting at 1:30 p.m. EDT! Discover more about the work we’re doing at NASA and be sure to ask your questions in the comment section of each Facebook Live event! 

Additional details and viewing information available HERE

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Illusions in the Cosmic Clouds: Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon where people see recognizable shapes in clouds, rock formations, or otherwise unrelated objects or data. There are many examples of this phenomenon on Earth and in space.

When an image from NASAs Chandra X-ray Observatory of PSR B1509-58 a spinning neutron star surrounded by a cloud of energetic particles was released in 2009, it quickly gained attention because many saw a hand-like structure in the X-ray emission.

In a new image of the system, X-rays from Chandra in gold are seen along with infrared data from NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer telescope in red, green and blue. Pareidolia may strike again as some people report seeing a shape of a face in WISEs infrared data. What do you see?

NASAs Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, also took a picture of the neutron star nebula in 2014, using higher-energy X-rays than Chandra.

PSR B1509-58 is about 17,000 light-years from Earth.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the WISE mission for NASA. NASAs Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandras science and flight operations.

Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Under Pressure

Structural Tests Underway for Top of World’s Most Powerful Rocket

Testing is underway at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, on the agency’s new Space Launch System, the world’s most powerful rocket. SLS and NASA’s Orion spacecraft will enable deep-space missions, beginning a new era of exploration beyond Earth’s orbit.

Engineers at Marshall have stacked four qualification articles of the upper part of SLS into a 65-foot-tall test stand using more than 3,000 bolts to hold the hardware together. Tests are currently underway to ensure the rocket hardware can withstand the pressures of launch and flight. 

The integrated tests consists of:

1. Launch Vehicle Adapter

2. Frangible Joint Assembly

3. Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage

4. Orion Stage Adapter

Engineers are using 28 load pistons to push, pull and twist the rocket hardware, subjecting it to loads up to 40 percent greater than that expected during flight. More than 100 miles of cables are transmitting measurements across 1,900 data channels.

The Launch Vehicle Stage Adapter, LVSA, connects the SLS core stage and the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, ICPS. The LVSA test hardware is 26.5 feet tall, with a bottom diameter of 27.5 feet and a top diameter of 16.8 feet. The frangible joint, located between the LVSA and ICPS, is used to separate the two pieces of hardware during flight, allowing the ICPS to provide the thrust to send Orion onto its mission.

The ICPS is a liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen-based system that will give Orion the big, in-space push needed to fly beyond the moon before it returns to Earth on the first flight of SLS in 2018. For this test series, the fuel tanks are filled with nonflammable liquid nitrogen and pressurized with gaseous nitrogen to simulate flight conditions. The nitrogen is chilled to the same temperature as the oxygen and hydrogen under launch conditions.

The Orion Stage Adapter connects the Orion spacecraft to the ICPS. It is 4.8 feet tall, with a 16.8-foot bottom diameter and 18-foot top diameter.

The first integrated flight for SLS and Orion will allow NASA to use the lunar vicinity as a proving ground to test systems farther from Earth, and demonstrate Orion can get to a stable orbit in the area of space near the moon in order to support sending humans to deep space, including the Journey to Mars. 

For more information about the powerful SLS rocket, check out: http://nasa.gov/SLS

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com/.

This Week @ NASA--April 14, 2017

Cassini and the Hubble Space Telescope, two of our long-running missions, are providing new details about the ocean-bearing moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Hubble’s monitoring of plume activity on Europa and Cassini’s long-term investigation of Enceladus are laying the groundwork for our Europa Clipper mission, slated for launch in the 2020s. Also, Shane Kimbrough returns home after 171 days aboard the Space Station, celebrating the first Space Shuttle mission and more!

Ocean Worlds

Our two long-running missions, Cassini and the Hubble Space Telescope,  are providing new details about “ocean worlds,” specifically the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. 

The details – discussed during our April 13 science briefing – included the announcement by the Cassini mission team that a key ingredient for life has been found in the ocean on Saturn’s moon Enceladus. 

Meanwhile, in 2016 Hubble spotted a likely plume erupting from Jupiter’s moon Europa at the same location as one in 2014, reenforcing the notion of liquid water erupting from the moon.

These observations are laying the groundwork for our Europa Clipper mission, planned for launch in the 2020s.

Welcome Home, Shane!

Shane Kimbrough and his Russian colleagues returned home safely after spending 173 days in space during his mission to the International Space Station.

Meet the Next Crew to Launch to the Station

Meanwhile, astronaut Peggy Whitson assumed command of the orbital platform and she and her crew await the next occupants of the station, which is slated to launch April 20.

Student Launch Initiative

We’ve announced the preliminary winner of the 2017 Student Launch Initiative that took place near our Marshall Space Fight Center, The final selection will be announced in May. The students showcased advanced aerospace and engineering skills by launching their respective model rockets to an altitude of one mile, deploying an automated parachute and safely landing them for re-use.

Langley’s New Lab

On April 11, a ground-breaking ceremony took place at our Langley Research Center for the new Systems Measurement Laboratory. The 175,000 square-foot facility will be a world class lab for the research and development of new measurement concepts, technologies and systems that will enable the to meet its missions in space explorations, science and aeronautics.

Yuri’s Night

Space fans celebrated Yuri’s Night on April 12 at the Air and Space Museum and around the world. On April 12, 1961, cosmonaut Yuri Gagrin became the first person to orbit the Earth.

Celebrating the First Space Shuttle Launch

On April 12, 1981, John Young and Bob Crippin launched aboard Space Shuttle Columbia on STS-1 a two-day mission, the first of the Shuttle Program’s 30-year history.

Watch the full episode:

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

Find Out Why We’re Blasting this Rocket with Wind

The world’s most powerful rocket – our Space Launch System (SLS) – may experience ground wind gusts of up to 70 mph as it sits on the launch pad before and during lift off for future missions. Understanding how environmental factors affect the rocket will help us maintain a safe and reliable distance away from the launch tower during launch.

How do we even test this? Great question! Our Langley Research Center’s 14x22-Foot Subsonic Wind Tunnel in Hampton, Virginia, is designed to simulate wind conditions. Rather than having to test a full scale rocket, we’re able to use a smaller, to-scale model of the spacecraft.

Wind tunnel tests are a cost effective and efficient way to simulate situations where cross winds and ground winds affect different parts of the rocket. The guidance, navigation, and control team uses the test data as part of their simulations to identify the safety distance between the rocket and the launch tower.  

SLS is designed to evolve as we move crew and cargo farther into the solar system than we have ever been before. The Langley team tested the second more powerful version of the SLS rocket, known as the Block 1B, in both the crew and cargo configuration. 

Take a behind-the-scenes look at the hard work being done to support safe explorations to deep-space…

Below, an engineer simulates ground winds on the rocket during liftoff by using what’s called smoke flow visualization. This technique allows engineers to see how the wind flow behaves as it hits the surface of the launch tower model.

The 6-foot model of the SLS rocket undergoes 140 mph wind speeds in Langley’s 14x22-Foot Subsonic Wind Tunnel. Engineers are simulating ground winds impacting the rocket as it leaves the launch pad.

The cargo version of the rocket is positioned at a 0-degree angle to simulate the transition from liftoff to ascent as the rocket begins accelerating through the atmosphere.

Here, engineers create a scenario where the rocket has lifted off 100 feet in the air past the top of the launch tower. At this point in the mission, SLS is moving at speeds of about 100 mph!

Engineers at Langley collect data throughout the test which is used by the rocket developers at our Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to analyze and incorporate into the rocket’s design.

Learn more about our Space Launch System rocket HERE

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com/

anonymous asked:

Hey, if you're not too busy, i was wondering what podcasts you listen to/would recommend? I started listening to the bright sessions and Mabel after seeing you reblog/post about them and i seem to have such trouble finding new ones to listen to. Thanks!

aI AM NEVER TOO BUSY TO TALK ABOUT PODCASTS.

Also, I listen to a HUGE number and I have been meaning to make a list.

so OK, here we go! /Mario 

http://mabelpodcast.com is amazing, it’s an eerie story about a woman trying to get in touch with the estranged granddaughter of the woman she takes care of as a live-in nurse. There’s ghosts, or faeries, or something else eerie.

http://thebrightsessions.com is a sweet, light podcast about a bunch of kids (high school and college age) who have superpowers and go to therapy. There’s a thriller element, lots of queer rep, and tons of in-world documents/blogs/etc created.

http://www.kingfallsam.com/ is about the radio hosts of the overnight call-in show in King Falls, a town where the weird happens.  Reminds me of Eerie, Indiana, if you ever saw that show.

http://withinthewires.com is by the Welcome to Night Vale people and it’s a creepy horror story about an oppressive regime and women escaping from it, and sisters and love and memory and identity.

https://arsparadoxica.com/ is a cold-war-style spy show about time travel and accidental history and science and people who are broken in interesting ways.

http://www.albasalix.com/ is a silly fairy-tale comedy that reminds me in all the best ways of a great sitcom. It’s about the grumpy Royal Physician to the King in a fantasy land and the idiots that plague her.

http://woodenovercoats.com/ reminds me instead of the great old British comedies like Fawlty Towers and Are You Being Served? It’s about a struggling funeral home on a tiny island and is lightly surreal. (It’s narrated by a mouse, for starters).

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/panoply/the-message The Message and Life After are each one-season shows on this same stream. The Message is about a dangerous sound/music being studied; lif-e.af/ter is about people who live on via their social media profiles after death.

http://iriscasefiles.tumblr.com only has two eps, but it’s a cool adventure-y mystery in outerspace about a biologist and, I think, a revolution.

http://www.wolf359.fm/ is incredible, it’s about a small crew on a deep-space science mission that quickly goes bad – but it’s funny and charming and full of found family.

http://www.thepenumbrapodcast.com/ is a genre-bending semi-noir podcast about a grand hotel just this side of nowhere and the people that inhabit it.

http://thebridgepod.com is a tale of the transcontinental bridge, a once-grand project that has fallen to ruin, the mystery of what happened to those who once lived there, and deep-sea monsters and the eco-terrorists who love'em.

http://pleasuretownshow.com/ is about a turn of the century town in Oklahoma that was once envisioned as a hedonistic utopia but quickly fell to the vaguarities of man.

http://thrillingadventurehour.com/ now rarely updated, but with tons of back episodes – an old-school radio play type show.  The two stories that anchor it are Sparks Nevada, Marshall on Mars (space cowboys!) and Beyond Belief (glamorous NYC couple drinks, encounters the supernatural, amuses themselves by resolving problems) but there are quite a few serial shows.

http://www.eos10.com/ is about a couple of doctors on a space station that serves as an intergalactic travel hub, and is silly and ridiculous and worth it.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-elysium-project/id955156631?mt=2 is about folks who were experimented on and given strange powers, and have now escaped from the people who had them captive.  Really interesting take on how the powers work, IMO, and definitely scary sometimes.

http://rustyquill.com/the-magnus-archives/ is a weekly reading from, well, The Magnus Archives, a collection of eerie, horror-tastic documents in possession of a group that specializes in studying the weird.

http://www.archive81.com/ is also about both the library and librarian of a weird collection.  I stopped listening at the beginning of season 2 because of some pretty explicitly on-tape torture, but before that it was good.

https://www.lessergodspodcast.com/ is about the Final Five – the last generation of humans after a reproductive apocalypse.  They live in decadent fame as the world ends and people desperately try to create more people.  I wish this was fully acted rather than read in-perspective, I have a hard time keeping characters apart sometimes, but it’s good stuff in terms of world-building.

https://greaterbostonshow.com/ reminds me of a slightly more serious Douglas Adams, it’s a slightly surreal show about people in Boston and…weirdness.

http://www.returnhomepodcast.com/ is about an ordinary guy who returns home to find his dad has forgotten him, his mother is missing, and the Society of Shadows needs him.  The writing starts out pretty cliche but it gets better as the show goes on.

http://www.ourfaircity.com/ is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi… I’m not sure what to call it.  It’s not a comedy, but it is weirdly funny.  It’s not horror, but it can be horrific.  I have audio processing issues and this one gives me trouble, but when I can puzzle it through it’s usually worth it.

http://www.limetownstories.com/ is so so so good and I so hope for another season – a decade ago a scientific collective/town disappeared completely, to a person.  A reporter related to one of them investigates what could happen.  Heart-poundingly scary in all the best ways.

http://pnwstories.com/ has The Black Tapes, Tanis, and Rabbits, all presented as very ordinary NPR-style podcasts about weird and mysterious things – a collection of supernatural events that a scientist is studying, a place/state of mind/eerie thing called Tanis, and an ARG/real-world game.  I like’em well enough but they lean on the same tropes, so pick one and stick with it IMO.

http://www.lorepodcast.com/ is more folklore than fiction, but it’s good storytelling about mysterious and creepy and lovely things, so I think it belongs here.

On my yet-to-be-listened-to list:

http://www.hectorvsthefuture.com/

http://www.tarynmaxximilliandafoe.com/welcome-to-mollyville/

I… think that’s everything fictional/storytelling that I’ve got right now.