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NASA’s ‘Tremendous Cool’ Engineers Rehearse Rocket Fueling for Artemis I – #NewsEverything #Know-how

NASA’s Area Launch System (SLS) rocket will propel the Orion spacecraft on a journey past the Moon and again to Earth throughout an uncrewed flight take a look at often called Artemis I. Nicely earlier than liftoff, a gaggle of engineers might be contained in the Launch Management Middle at NASA’s Kennedy Area Middle in Florida, the place they are going to monitor the loading of cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen – super-cooled fuels – into the rocket.

cryo propellant team charlie

Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, at left, NASA Artemis launch director; and Wes Mosedale, technical assistant to the launch director, monitor a cryogenic propellant loading simulation inside Firing Room 1 within the Launch Management Middle on Nov. 2, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Area Middle in Florida. A staff of engineers with Exploration Floor Techniques and Jacobs, members of the cryogenics launch staff, are rehearsing the steps to load the super-cooled liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the Area Launch System’s (SLS) core and second phases to organize for Artemis I.
Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

To check this all-important tanking course of, engineers from NASA’s Exploration Floor Techniques and contractor Jacobs just lately took their seats at consoles in Kennedy’s Firing Room 1. Throughout a simulated launch, they tackled any challenges that arose and monitored the system’s efficiency.

“The [cryo] staff at all times brings their ‘A’ sport,” stated Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, NASA Artemis launch director at Kennedy. “Throughout these loading simulations, they reveal that they are going to be prepared on launch day.”

Diane Stees, an engineer and former chief of the cryogenic propulsion console through the shuttle program, serves because the NASA lead for the Cryogenic Propulsion Floor and Flight Utility Software program Workforce. The software program staff has 20 members with a mixture of seasoned and newer engineers.

Challyn Pfifer, a Jacobs cryogenic liquid hydrogen software program technical lead, is likely one of the newer engineers. She sits on console for the liquid hydrogen staff, which oversees loading the rocket and constantly screens the system by launch.

“It’s an incredible honor and expertise to be a part of the following technology of area launches with the Artemis program; to be paving the best way for future aerospace engineers who dream of launching rockets,” Pfifer stated. “It’s additionally an uplifting expertise to see increasingly more ladies become involved within the area program. I take nice delight realizing I’m part of one thing larger than myself.”

She added that the Artemis program advantages from having skilled engineers who launched area shuttles in addition to new engineers who supply a special outlook and means of approaching the duties at hand.

One of many skilled engineers is John Sterritt. He started his profession with Rockwell Worldwide in October 1979 as a most important propulsion methods engineer and labored on each area shuttle launch. Now a senior engineer and cryogenic propulsion launch system specialist with Jacobs, he transitioned to the SLS rocket in March 2013 and works intently with the hazardous fuel detection system engineers.

“It’s at all times thrilling to deliver a brand new rocket on-line and produce a few of that shuttle information ahead,” Sterritt stated.

cryo propellant team consoles

Theo Henderson, left, and Phillip Youmans, members of the cryogenics launch staff, take part in a cryogenic propellant loading simulation inside Firing Room 1 within the Launch Management Middle on Nov. 2, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Area Middle in Florida.
Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Sterritt screens the inner volumes of the core and interim cryogenic propulsion phases, together with the engines, propulsion methods, and tank interfaces, to confirm that the detected ranges of hydrogen, oxygen, and helium don’t pose a risk to the rocket or spacecraft. As well as, Sterritt ensures the staff takes applicable actions if the degrees exceed the prescribed limits for launch.

Ed Sikora, a propulsion specialist with the Jacobs staff, additionally brings his Area Shuttle Program information to the SLS staff. Sikora arrived at Kennedy in Could 1982 and supported 132 area shuttle flights. In 2015, he began writing floor methods necessities, engaged on the software program, and taking part in launch simulations within the firing rooms.

With extra floor help tools for Artemis than there was for the Area Shuttle Program, Sikora stated it helps engineers working within the firing rooms to understand how the {hardware} interfaces with the software program while you push the button.

“It humbles me,” Sikora stated. “We’re taking part in an element in placing astronauts again on the Moon and preparing for human exploration of Mars.”


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