Novità dall'Exploration Office

Continuano i tests in galleria del vento per un modello in scala 1,5% del CLV, e si lavora anche sullo spark igniter del nuovo J-2…

June 26, 2006

Dolores Beasley/Mike Braukus
Headquarters, Washington
Phone: (202) 358-1600/1979

RELEASE: 06-249


NASA engineers are in the midst of a new series of tests that will aid
development of the agency’s future space transportation systems.

The tests support development and integration of the Crew Launch
Vehicle, Crew Exploration Vehicle and Cargo Launch Vehicle under the
Constellation Program. The program is developing both crew and launch
vehicles for NASA’s plan to return humans to the moon, Mars and
destinations beyond.

Since June, engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center’s
Aerodynamic Research Facility in Huntsville, Ala., have conducted 80
wind-tunnel runs on a partial model of the Crew Launch Vehicle. The
model includes a portion of the upper stage, the spacecraft adapter,
the Crew Exploration Vehicle and the launch abort system. The abort
system is designed to lift the crew clear of the propulsion stack
before or during launch in the event of an emergency.

The tests use a 13-inch-long, 1.5 percent scale model in a
14-by-14-inch cross section wind tunnel to simulate how proposed
vehicle shapes perform in flight. In the test tunnel, giant fans or
high-pressure air generate artificial wind that flows over
scale-model vehicles, engines or rockets through a wide speed range.
The tests are being conducted between Mach 0.8 and Mach 4.45, or
about 600 to 3,300 miles an hour. Engineers use this flow
visualization to analyze shock waves and flow expansion
characteristics of components before their designs are incorporated
into space hardware.

This series is the latest step in a progression of wind tunnel tests
that began in February. They are part of a coordinated partnership
among NASA field centers and industry to set the foundation for
design and development of the Crew Exploration Vehicle and Crew
Launch Vehicle as an integrated system. This partnership includes
Marshall; Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.; Ames Research
Center, Moffett Field, Calif.; and Boeing at St. Louis, Mo.

Additional configuration tests are planned through July in the wind
tunnel at Marshall. Those tests will serve as a foundation for more
detailed launch vehicle design testing in the fall.

Engineers at Marshall also have completed preliminary tests of an
“augmented spark igniter,” a critical engine component needed for
in-flight ignition of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants
that mix and burn in engine combustion chambers.

The test apparatus and a similar igniter will be used in development
of the J-2X upper stage engine, an updated version of the powerful
engine used to power the Saturn V rocket upper stages during the
Apollo Program. The J-2X is planned for use in both the Crew Launch
Vehicle’s upper stage and the Cargo Launch Vehicle’s Earth Departure
Stage. The dual-use J-2X engine is an example of common hardware
designed to simplify ground processing and reduce recurring operation

During the igniter tests, engineers integrated the igniter assembly -
spark plugs, propellant injectors and tube-like ignition torch - and
fired it into a vacuum chamber. This simulated the conditions the
Crew Launch Vehicle’s upper stage will experience when activated in
low-Earth orbit. Future tests will chill propellants to minus 260
degrees Fahrenheit prior to injection to simulate conditions between
Earth and the moon, where the J-2X will be used to power the Earth
Departure Stage.

Preliminary analysis showed the test igniter operated as expected.
Detailed analysis is continuing.

Crew Launch Vehicle and Cargo Launch Vehicle development efforts
include multiple project element teams at NASA centers and contract
organizations around the nation. These efforts are led by the
agency’s Exploration Launch Projects Office at Marshall. The office
is part of the Constellation Program, hosted by NASA’s Johnson Space
Center, Houston. Constellation is a key program of NASA’s Exploration
Systems Mission Directorate in Washington.

For information about NASA’s exploration efforts on the Web, visit:

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:


Che magnifico “dry workshop” che sarebbe! due di queste bellezze agganciate insieme in LEO fornirebbero una stazione ancora più grande,spaziosa e comoda della ISS,e senza tutti quei lanci dello Shuttle.Se stiamo per riavere l’Apollo con gli steroidi",perchè non anche “lo Skylab al viagra”?