NASA’s ‘Spaceport of the Future’ Reaches Another Milestone

March 29, 2016
RELEASE 16-037
NASA’s ‘Spaceport of the Future’ Reaches Another Milestone

Heavy liftThis artist concept depicts the Space Launch System rocket rolling out of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built and will launch the agency’s Orion spacecraft into a new era of exploration to destinations beyond low-Earth orbit.

Credits: NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA has completed a major milestone on its journey to Mars and is ready to begin another phase of work on its spaceport of the future, where the next generation of astronauts will launch to Mars and other deep-space destinations.

The agency recently wrapped up a comprehensive and successful review of plans for the facilities and ground support systems that will process the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“NASA is developing and modernizing the ground systems at Kennedy to safely integrate Orion with SLS, move the vehicle to the pad, and successfully launch it into space,” said Bill Hill, deputy associate administrator of NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Division at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington. “Modernizing the ground systems for our journey to Mars also ensures long-term sustainability and affordability to meet future needs of the multi-use spaceport.”

Over the course of a few months, engineers and experts across the agency reviewed hundreds of documents as part of a comprehensive assessment. The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program (GSDO), responsible for processing SLS and Orion for flight and ensuring all systems and facilities are ready, completed its critical design review (CDR) of the facilities and ground support systems plans in December 2015.

This was followed in January by the completion of an independent assessment by a Standing Review Board, a team of aerospace experts that assessed program readiness and confirmed the program is on track to complete the engineering design and development process on budget and on schedule.

In the final step before actual fabrication, installation and testing of Kennedy’s ground systems, the GSDO program and review board briefed the results of their assessments to NASA’s Agency Program Management Council, led by Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot.

Engineers are transforming Kennedy’s launch infrastructure to support the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft. The heavy-lift rocket will be stacked in the Vehicle Assembly Building on the mobile launcher and roll out to Launch Pad 39B atop a modified crawler transporter. The Orion spacecraft will be fueled with propellants in the Multi-Payload Processing Facility at Kennedy prior to stacking atop the rocket. The launch team will use the new command and control system in the firing room as the clock counts down to liftoff of SLS’s first flight.

“The team is working hard and we are making remarkable progress transforming our facilities,” said Mike Bolger, GSDO Program Manager. “As we are preparing for NASA’s journey to Mars, the outstanding team at the Kennedy Space Center is ensuring that we will be ready to receive SLS and Orion flight hardware and process the vehicle for the first flight in 2018.”

The council also heard the results of the Orion CDR, completed at the program level in October 2015. The evaluation assessed the primary systems of the spacecraft, including the capsule’s structures, pyrotechnics, Launch Abort System jettison, guidance, navigation and control and software systems among many other elements.

For the spacecraft’s first mission on the SLS rocket, ESA (European Space Agency) is providing Orion’s service module, which powers, propels, cools and provides consumables like air and water in space. Results from ESA’s service module design review, which began this month, will be assessed and incorporated into Orion development and integration plans later this summer. Systems unique to the first crewed flight will be addressed at a review in the fall of 2017.

Progress continues on Orion at NASA facilities across the country. The underlying structure of the crew module arrived at Kennedy in early February for outfitting, which is currently underway. Over the next 18 months, thousands of Orion components will arrive and be installed.

Meanwhile, a structural representation of the service module is being tested at NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio, where engineers conducted a successful solar array wing deployment test on Feb. 29 and are preparing for a variety of tests to confirm it can withstand the harsh conditions of launch.

For more information on GSDO, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/groundsystems

For more information on Orion, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/orion

UFO update ⋅ March 30, 2016

Open Minds UFO News

Packers quarterback and friends see UFO

Last week, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers made headlines when he recounted a UFO sighting during a radio interview. This week, a …

Mirror.co.uk

Teen arrested over stolen ‘UFO‘ found smashed to pieces after CCTV footage showed it ‘being taken’

A teenager has been arrested following the theft of a a ‘flying saucer’ which was stolen from a world famous UFO museum. The missing silver disc was …

Inverse

The Mutual UFO Network Tracks Close Encounters, Searches for Truth and New Tech

A few weeks ago, a scientist with the U.S. Department of Defense came forward with details about a UFO he claimed to have seen during a trip in …

News3LV

Local man claims UFO hovered over Las Vegas Sky

It was April 16th, 2014 when he says he saw his first UFO. “Until it happens to you, once it has and when you see one up close it just changes …

Clapway

Local man claims UFO hovered over Las Vegas Sky

Aliens are after Russia, more specifically they’re after its leader. Weird footage has just been released showing what appears to be a UFO hovering …

Open Minds UFO News

Triangle UFO reported gliding over Columbus sky

An Ohio witness at Columbus reported watching a silent, triangle UFO, that appeared to be translucent green moving under the cloud

Delaware witness videotapes square UFO

Open Minds UFO News

A Delaware witness at Wilmington reported watching and videotaping a pulsating, square-shaped UFO low in the sky and moving toward the north, …

The Inquisitr

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Photo Shows Mars Rock Carving Of A ‘Running Alien,’ According to UFO

A UFO hunter claims to have discovered carvings on Mars rock depicting a “running man,” or more precisely, a “running Mars alien,” who may have …

Cave paintings spotted on Mars by keen UFO seeker – Market Business News

‘Cave paintings’ spotted on Mars: Nasa images reveal unusual carvings of ‘running men and … – Daily Mail

Intelligent Aerospace

UFO lands in residential area

The bright white orb whips past a residential area before disappearing near the ground in Las Vegas, Nevada. UFO enthusiast, Steven Barone …

• The other question no one ever seems to ask: How much does NASA’s bureaucracy stymie their progress to Mars? Or in other words, “What is Brazil?” https://t.co/2I23cJLhvA via @YouTube

Colonizing Mars is a long way off – but @NASA hopes to start with a research and operations base
http://bit.ly/1q2Rj9p

Permanent Mars Colony Is ‘Long Way Down the Road,’ NASA Says
The first NASA astronauts to set foot on Mars will aim to establish a research and operations base, not a permanently inhabited colony, agency officials say.

• Report Colonizing Mars is a long way off – but @NASA hopes to start with a research and operations base
•Neil deGrasse Tyson to Elon Musk: SpaceX Is “Delusional” About Mars

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/03/27/neil-degrasse-tyson-to-elon-musk-spacex-delusional.aspx?

o  What no one ever seems to ask:

https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/434w3i/spacex_as_a_space_tourism_company/

• SpaceX Is Ferrying a Prototype Space Hotel Up to the ISS – The Bigelow inflatable space habitat may

http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/a20115/spacex-delivers-bigelow-inflatable-space-habitat-to-iss/ via @PopMech