Space & Technology

May 10, 2017
 

Testing prepares NASA’s space launch system for liftoff

Dave Chan simulates ground winds on the rocket during liftoff by using what’s called smoke flow visualization. This technique allows engineers to see how the wind flow behaves as it hits the surface of the launch tower model.

The world’s most powerful rocket — NASA’s Space Launch System — may experience ground wind gusts of up to 70 mph as it sits on the launch pad before and during lift off for future missions.

Understanding how environmental factors affect the rocket will help NASA maintain a safe and reliable distance away from the launch tower during launch.

SLS model testing in NASA Langley Research Center’s 14×22-Foot Subsonic Wind Tunnel in Hampton, Va., is designed to simulate wind conditions.

The 6-foot model of the SLS rocket undergoes 140 mph wind speeds in Langley’s 14×22-Foot Subsonic Wind Tunnel. Engineers are simulating ground winds impacting the rocket as it leaves the launch pad.

According to Langley research aerospace engineer Dave Chan, wind tunnel tests are a cost effective and efficient way to simulate situations where cross winds and ground winds affect different parts of the rocket. The guidance, navigation, and control team uses the test data as part of their simulations to identify the safety distance between the rocket and the launch tower. 

SLS is designed to evolve as NASA moves crew and cargo farther into the solar system than we have ever been before. The Langley team tested the second more powerful version of the SLS rocket, known as the Block 1B, in both the crew and cargo configuration. Take a behind-the-scenes look of the hard work being done at Langley to support safe explorations to deep-space.
 

The cargo version of the rocket is positioned at a 0-degree angle to simulate the transition from liftoff to ascent as the rocket begins accelerating through the atmosphere.

 

Dave Chan and test engineer Les Yeh create a scenario where the rocket has lifted off 100 feet in the air past the top of the launch tower. At this point in the mission, SLS is moving at speeds of about 100 mph.

 

Engineers at Langley collect data throughout the test which is used by the rocket developers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., to analyze and incorporate into SLS’s design.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines – December 13, 2017

News Pentagon unleashes 2,400 auditors for unprecedented financial review – After decades of false starts, the Defense Department aims to issue its first audit report in November 2018.   Court refuses Trump request to delay Jan. 1 transgender enlistments – A federal court has knocked down the Trump administration’s latest request to delay any transgender...
 
 

News Briefs – December 13, 2017

Military fails to disclose criminal convictions to FBI A recent lapse by the U.S. Army to disclose a Texas veteran’s criminal record to the FBI is the latest example of the military failing to document criminal convictions, according to a newspaper’s review. Former Army 1st Sgt. Gregory McQueen pleaded guilty two years ago to more...
 
 
NG-army

Northrop Grumman, U.S. Army successfully demonstrate multi-domain, joint air, missile defense

The Northrop Grumman-developed Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System, the foundation of the U.S. Army IAMD, has successfully demonstrated extraordinary capabilities for improving joint force operational effec...