Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Mini Models Fire Up for SLS Base Heating Tests
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Feb 03, 2015

A 2-percent scale model of the Space Launch System core stage RS-25 engines, in the pictures at left, and a model of the SLS without the twin boosters is used for nominal, core-stage-only testing at CUBRC Inc. Image courtesy NASA/MSFC. For a larger version of this image please go here.

It may be cold in upstate New York, but NASA engineers are turning up the temperature in Buffalo for a series of tests that will provide critical data on the heating conditions at the base of NASA's new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS).

A team of engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, is working in close collaboration with CUBRC Inc. of Buffalo to design, build and test 2-percent scale models of the SLS propulsion system. That includes two five-segment solid rocket boosters and four core stage RS-25 engines, and a 2 percent, or 6.5-foot-tall, scale model of the entire rocket. The models are fired for short durations -- around 50-150 milliseconds per test.

SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for deep space missions, including to an asteroid and eventually Mars.

"There's a lot of complex work that goes in to such a short-duration test," said Manish Mehta, lead engineer for the SLS Base Heating Test Program at Marshall, where the SLS Program is managed for the agency. "The timing of the propulsion systems and shock tunnel have to be precise. Although this test program has been technically challenging, there's no heritage data that we can fall back on to predict SLS base environments because this vehicle has never been flown before.

"There are four engines and two booster rocket plumes that are firing into the base," he said. "This results in highly complex flow physics, which is not something you can develop analytically and predict very accurately."

Testing of the mini models will provide data on the convective heating environments the base of the rocket will experience upon ascent for both planned and unplanned flight conditions.

Data from the test series will be used to verify flight hardware design environments and set specifications for the design of the rocket's base thermal protection system. The system keeps major hardware, wiring and crews on future missions safe from the extreme heat the boosters and engines create while burning during ascent.

Testing for the core stage in normal ascent scenarios was completed first, followed by testing with the entire SLS model in early January. The full-stack configuration has 200 heat flux and pressure sensors within the aft section of the rocket to collect data on the base flow environment. More than 30 test cases have been performed, with about 85 total scheduled for the entire test series. The testing is planned to conclude early this summer.

The test program uses new technology that wasn't available during past human spaceflight programs, such as high-speed visible light and infrared cameras, laser diagnostics and new designs of the model propulsion systems that more adequately simulate the SLS full-scale systems.

"It's great to be working on hardware and stretching our engineering skills on coming up with solutions to technical issues we've experienced along the way," said Mehta. "I think we've done well."

The models took about a year and a half to design and build to flight specifications and performance. For the test series, which began in August 2014, the replicas are loaded with propellant, pressurized with hydrogen and oxygen lines and ignited in one of CUBRC's shock tunnels. The shock tunnel replicates both supersonic and hypersonic flight conditions, matching what the rocket's environment will be like during ascent, including temperature, pressure and velocity.

"We like to say we're duplicating a flight test on the ground," said Aaron Dufrene, technical lead at CUBRC. "What's great about the design of these models is we can run them dozens, even hundreds, of times and reuse most all of the hardware every single time."

"That's why NASA historically started doing this short-duration testing technique," added Mark Seaford, a Marshall engineer who works on the test project.

"Since you are testing at a much smaller scale, in this case 2 percent, the heating goes up at the throat of the nozzles. We can't run it for a substantial length of time or the hardware would be compromised under the heat. We really had to challenge ourselves in the design process to get the right materials to minimize that risk."

The first flight test of the SLS will feature a configuration for a 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit to test the performance of the integrated system. As the SLS evolves, it will provide an unprecedented lift capability of 130 metric tons (143 tons) to enable missions even farther into our solar system.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
More information on SLS
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Sundance doc examines real-life Close Encounter
Park City, United States (AFP) Jan 29, 2015
Earth authorities are completely unprepared for the arrival of alien visitors and worried humans should ready themselves by watching a groundbreaking documentary, the film's director boasts. Danish director Michael Madsen takes a tough line promoting "The Visit", which is subtitled "An Alien Encounter" and competing in the World Documentary category at the Sundance Film Festival. Intrigu ... read more

Service Module of Chinese Probe Enters Lunar Orbit

Service module of China's lunar orbiter enters 127-minute orbit

Chinese spacecraft to return to moon's orbit

Russian Company Proposes to Build Lunar Base

Gully patterns document Martian climate cycles

The two faces of Mars

Several Drives This Week Put Opportunity Near Marathon Distance

Helicopter Could be 'Scout' for Mars Rovers

Sundance doc examines real-life Close Encounter

Japanese businessman set to resume space tourist training

NASA, Boeing, SpaceX Outline Objectives to ISS Flights

Boeing will be first to carry US astronauts to space

More Astronauts for China

China launches the FY-2 08 meteorological satellite successfully

China's Long March puts satellite in orbit on 200th launch

Countdown to China's new space programs begins

NASA's CATS Installed on ISS by Robotic Handoff

Roscosmos, NASA Still Planning on Sending Men Into Space

Russian Cargo Spacecraft to Supply ISS With Black Caviar

Astronauts' year-long mission will test limits

Russia launches British comms satellite into space

British Satellite to Be Launched by Russian Proton-M Carrier Rocket

Soyuz Installed at Baikonur, Expected to Launch Wednesday

SpaceX releases animation of heavy-lift Falcon rocket

Habitable Evaporated Cores

Smaller Gas Giants Could Support Life

Will NASA's TESS Spacecraft Revolutionize Exoplanet Hunting?

Dawn ahead!

How ionic: Scaffolding is in charge of calcium carbonate crystals

Graphene edges can be tailor-made

The laser pulse that gets shorter all by itself

Eyeglasses that turn into sunglasses - at your command

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.