NASA Is Ready To Test SLS’s Biggest Fuel Tank

Posted: Jan 10 2017, 8:14am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

NASA is Ready to Test SLS’s Biggest Fuel Tank
Credits: NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given / Robert Bobo, left, and Mike Nichols talk beneath the 221-foot-tall Test Stand 4693, the largest of two new Space Launch System test stands at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
  • NASA Engineers Completed Rocket Test Stand Construction That Will Test Space Launch System's Largest Fuel Tank

Bobo manages SLS structural strength testing, and Nichols is lead test engineer for the SLS liquid hydrogen tank, which the stand will subject to the forces it must endure during launch and flight. This stand and Test Stand 4697, where the SLS liquid oxygen tank will be tested, were designed and developed by Marshall’s Test Laboratory and the Office of Center Operations. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provided oversight for the construction contract for the government. Construction partners included general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie of Birmingham, Alabama; architects Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood of Montgomery, Alabama; architects Merrick & Company of Greenwood Village, Colorado; steel fabricators North Alabama Fabricating Co. of Birmingham; and steel erectors LPR Construction of Loveland, Colorado.

NASA completed the construction of its new space launch system, and the engineers are in a process of equipment installation that will test the fuel tank of the rocket.

Right now, the engineers can’t assure the efficiency of constructed stand. They don’t know if the tank could withstand the launch force in both first and second flight that will take 4 astronauts in Orion aircraft to moon, preparing basis for Mars.

Nothing can handle the SLAS tank other than the new equipment, said Sam Stephens, an SLS engineer working on the tests at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. He also added that only world’s few stations can build and test such things, and one such place is NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility.

The project started in May 2014, and the test stand 4693 changed Marshall’s skyline when the twin tower soared to 67.4 meters. The construction staff gave the stand to Marshall Engineers who are installing cameras, pipes, cables, test equipment, lighting, valves, and control systems.

The construction of the test stand involved people from different professions from the US, including steel fabricators, manufacturers, erectors, concrete suppliers, finishers and several other.

Those who are working in this project are proud to take part in this project that will take astronauts deep in the space,Stated Robert Bobo, who monitors SLS structural strength testing at Marshall.

According to NASA, the test will involve, pulling, pushing and bending of SLS liquid hydrogen tank article developed by Boeing at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

The tank is 149 foot long, and both SLS liquid hydrogen and oxygen tank will provide 733,000 gallons of fuel to RS-25 engineers that produce 2 million pounds of thrust.

The hydrogen tank will travel by barge starting from Michoud to Marshall. The tank’s test sample will be placed between the towers hanging under the cross head.

38 hydraulic cylinders will be included in the test for sending and receiving the required data. Weight of each cylinder is from 500 to 3200 pounds. Then 24 cylinders will simulate the thrust created by RS-25 engines.

It’s important to be careful during stand’s construction, as very step is important, including welding, bolting, measurement and connections. Each person involved in the construction knows that each detail is important, said Stephens.

When the major construction will be over, Phil Hendrix will also move further, as he is the project manager. He said that each person took the project as a mission and did his work honestly.

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