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ASRC Aerospace Contributes To NASA Constellation System

Artist's impression of Ares on Pad 39B. ASRC supplied image.
by Staff Writers
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) Jan 10, 2008
ASRC Aerospace Corporation is providing design and development engineering, systems engineering, configuration management, three dimensional modeling and visualization, and project management services to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD), Constellation Program (CxP) Ground Operations (GO) Project for processing the Ares 1/Orion vehicles at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

NASA recently awarded ASRC Aerospace a three-year extension to the original five-year University-affiliated Spaceport Technology Development Contract (USTDC). As part of this contract ASRC Aerospace is contributing to the design, development and activation of NASA's ground support equipment and systems used for processing the Constellation Program elements at KSC.

The Ares I/Orion vehicle is a crucial component of the CxP and will initially provide transport to the International Space Station (ISS) with crew rescue and crew transfer capabilities, followed by lunar missions and ultimately Mars missions. The Ares V vehicle, a follow-on development effort, will be used for lunar and Mars missions.

An Alaska Native Corporation headquartered in Greenbelt, Maryland, ASRC Aerospace is providing technical design support and project planning to the Constellation Ground Operations Project Office and the Engineering Directorate at Kennedy Space Center. ASRC Aerospace is a key asset in supporting program trade studies, development of the program's requirements, development of the program's design concepts and products, and operations formulation phase.

The GO project is responsible for the launch site development, ground processing and operations efforts at the launch, landing, and retrieval sites in support of the Constellation Program. In addition, the GO project supports spacecraft and launch vehicle design for operability and interface definition to Ground Systems. Launch site development includes new and modified facilities, Ground Support Equipment (GSE), and launch processing planning efforts. The goal is to provide safe and economical maintenance and checkout, preflight servicing, and launch and landing recovery.

The models developed by ASRC Aerospace's Systems Integration group were just a few of the many images used by NASA to depict current design concepts. These images have been shown in Aviation Week (December 10, 2007 issue) and The Florida Today newspaper.

"Our team is providing personnel who can introduce lessons learned through program management, systems engineering, design and operations experience from previous human space flight development programs," explained Dick Lyon, Vice President of Florida Operations for ASRC Aerospace.

"The company is assisting KSC in concept development and oversight of processing facilities and systems, command and control systems, mechanical structures, fluids systems, communications and data systems, and logistics systems."

The primary focus for ASRC Aerospace is to assist KSC in the design, development, implementation and sustaining engineering of those previously mentioned systems and facilities. The design effort will continue through the Ares 1/Orion project and into the Ares V project development phase.

Specific design accomplishments include providing system architecture support to the baseline effort of the Command, Control and Communications architecture that will be used to checkout the Ares I spacecraft. ASRC Aerospace has prepared the requirements documentation for all CxP GO elements, systems, and subsystems. This involves detailed analysis of all electrical and mechanical systems to determine planned use and operational needs. ASRC Aerospace also tailored a Monte Carlo simulation program incorporating specific criteria and utilized it to perform the analysis for the Pad 39B Lightning Protection System. The analysis resulted in validating a three tower design concept thus providing a considerable cost savings compared to the original four tower design concept.

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Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy aims to cut rocket launch costs: company
Tokyo (AFP) Jan 7, 2008
Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said Monday that it aimed to slash the launch cost of its H-2A rocket as it competes with European and US rivals to put satellites into space.

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