Space

May 31, 2013

National Technical Systems tests NASA lunar satellite

National Technical Systems, Inc., a leading provider of testing and engineering services, announced May 29 it completed a series of qualification tests on NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, a satellite that will orbit the moon to gather detailed information about the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the moon’s surface and environmental influences on lunar dust.

NASA’s LADEE Observatory is scheduled to launch in the late summer of 2013.

Working alongside each other, NASA and NTS engineers simulated the conditions of launch and space travel by subjecting LADEE to high levels of acoustics, severe vibration levels and intense shock environments to ensure that the spacecraft will function properly during its trip to the moon. To ensure the spacecraft was uncontaminated, all testing was performed in clean room conditions at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., and NTS’ Santa Clarita, Calif., facility. Ames is responsible for managing the mission, building the spacecraft and performing mission operations.

The LADEE project marks the first time for NASA Ames to outsource this type of critical testing to an independent testing laboratory. Typically, these tests are performed in-house or by the prime contractor building the satellite.

A NASA spokesperson said because of the expense of building satellites, such as the LADEE Observatory, it is critical that qualification testing be thorough and reliable.

“The LADEE project is a very important mission for NASA and it is important that we have the highest chance of mission success. This requires undergoing an extensive battery of environmental tests before launch.” said Zion Young, LADEE Mechanical Test Lead. “We try to anticipate all of the mechanical environments that the spacecraft will experience during launch and flight; we then test the spacecraft by simulating these extreme environments using specialized equipment. Once the environmental tests are complete the spacecraft is both physically inspected and functionally tested, certifying the spacecraft is ready for launch, and ready to carry out the mission.”

NTS President and CEO William McGinnis said the NASA testing demonstrates the Company’s ability to simulate difficult environments and perform a rigorous battery of tests in a cost-effective manner.

“We are very pleased that NASA had the confidence in NTS to select us to perform these important tests for its critical LADEE mission to the moon,” McGinnis said. “We have worked diligently to expand and upgrade our capabilities to serve the aerospace and aviation markets, which we consider to be two of the most important markets for NTS for our current and future success. We look forward to continuing to compete for work for NASA and other aerospace customers.”

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington funds the LADEE mission, a cooperative effort led by NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. Ames is responsible for managing the mission, building the spacecraft and performing mission operations. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., is responsible for managing the science instruments and technology demonstration payload, and the science operations center. NASA Wallops Flight Facility will be responsible for launch vehicle integration, launch services, and launch range operations. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., manages LADEE within the Lunar Quest Program Office.

 




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


 
 

 
Images courtesy of NASA/JHU-APL/SwRI

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft stays course to Pluto

Images courtesy of NASA/JHU-APL/SwRI These images show the difference between two sets of 48 combined 10-second exposures with New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) camera, taken at 8:40 UTC and 10:25 UTC...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Fourth Lockheed Martin-built MUOS secure comm satellite shipped

Lockheed Martin photograph On June 28, MUOS-4, the next satellite scheduled to join the U.S. Navy’s Mobile User Objective System secure communications network, shipped to Cape Canaveral from Lockheed Martin’s satellite manu...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of NASA/CXC/U. Wisconsin/S. Heinz

NASA’s Chandra captures x-ray echoes pinpointing distant neutron star

Photograph courtesy of NASA/CXC/U. Wisconsin/S. Heinz A light echo in X-rays detected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has provided a rare opportunity to precisely measure the distance to an object on the other side of the...
 

 

Veteran NASA spacecraft nears 60,000th lap around Mars

NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft will reach a major milestone June 23, when it completes its 60,000th orbit since arriving at the Red Planet in 2001. Named after the bestselling novel “2001: A Space Odyssey” by Arthur C. Clarke, Odyssey began orbiting Mars almost 14 years ago, on Oct. 23, 2001. On Dec. 15, 2010, it...
 
 
nasa-study

NASA selects six wild ideas in aviation for further study

NASA has selected six proposals to study transformative ideas that might expand what’s possible in aviation, shifting the boundary between fantastic and futuristic. During a day-long meeting in April, 17 teams pitched the...
 
 
NASA photograph

NASA signs agreement with Space Florida to operate historic landing facility

NASA photograph This aerial photo of the runway at the KSC Shuttle Landing Facility looks north. Longer and wider than most commercial runways, it is 15,000 feet long, with 1,000-foot paved overruns on each end, and 300 feet wi...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>