Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Space Travel News .




ROCKET SCIENCE
Wind Tunnel Testing Used to Ensure SLS Will 'Breeze' Through Liftoff
by Staff Writers
Huntsville AL (SPX) Sep 23, 2013


During the liftoff transition testing of a nearly six-foot model of the Space Launch System, engineers used a technique for studying airflow streamlines called smoke flow visualization, giving them insight into the data retrieved. Image Credit: NASA/LaRC.

Environmental factors, like wind gusts, can factor into an aircraft's performance. NASA's new heavy-lift launch vehicle, the Space Launch System (SLS), is no exception when it comes to Mother Nature.

NASA engineers and contractors recently completed liftoff transition testing of a 67.5-inch model of the SLS in a 14-by-22-foot subsonic wind tunnel at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. Data acquired from the test will help prepare SLS for its first mission in 2017, Exploration Mission-1, which will deliver an unmanned Orion spacecraft to a stable lunar orbit to check out the vehicle's fully integrated systems.

Wind tunnel tests are a tried-and-true method to understand the forces an object may endure as it moves through the atmosphere.

Instead of learning how environmental factors affect the SLS only during flight, engineers have started at the beginning to improve understanding of how the environment also affects the rocket while it's sitting on the pad, ready for liftoff. "In a typical wind tunnel test, we point the model into the flow field," said John Blevins, lead engineer for aerodynamics and acoustics in the Spacecraft and Vehicle Systems Department at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "For the liftoff test, that's not the case. The wind is actually traversing across the model at much higher angles -- simulating a liftoff environment."

Engineers tested four different payload configurations of the SLS, carrying up to 130 metric tons.

"The test data is key to ensure vehicle control as we lift off and pass the ground tower," Blevins added. "At supersonic speeds, engineers can more easily compute the forces and moments, but that's more challenging at low speeds. This test is low speed, with winds in the tunnel only reaching up to 160 miles per hour."

With winds up to 160 mph over the model, engineers can measure forces and moments that the air exerts over the vehicle.

"Moments, or torque, act like a twisting force on the vehicle," explained Jeremy Pinier, research aerospace engineer in Langley's Configuration Aerodynamics Branch.

Understanding forces and moments upon the vehicle at different wind conditions enables the vehicle to fly safely.

Engineers also used a technique for studying airflow streamlines called smoke flow visualization. Smoke is put into the wind flow and can be seen during testing. This allows engineers to see how the wind flow hits the surface of the model. "Understanding the flow patterns can give us insight into what we are seeing in the data," Pinier explained.

Now that the liftoff transition testing is complete, NASA engineers and contractors can apply their findings to the actual vehicle.

"We will be using the data we receive from this test to run flight simulations on the actual SLS vehicle and assess its performance," Pinier said. "There's nothing more motivating and exciting than contributing toward the design of a launch vehicle that will be travelling farther than humans have ever been."

The SLS capability is essential to America's future in human spaceflight and scientific exploration of deep space. Only with a heavy-lift launch vehicle can humans explore our solar system, investigate asteroids and one day set foot on Mars. Marshall manages the SLS Program for the agency.

.


Related Links
International Space Station
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ROCKET SCIENCE
Boeing and Aerojet Rocketdyne Test CST-100 Thrusters
Kennedy Space Center FL (SPX) Sep 23, 2013
Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft is one step closer to liftoff after a gauntlet of test firings of its steering jets at White Sands Space Harbor in Las Cruces, N.M. Boeing and Aerojet Rocketdyne recently completed the tests, which simulated the demanding environment of space. The tests assessed how the thrusters - which fire with 1,500 pounds of force - will speed up, slow down and move the s ... read more


ROCKET SCIENCE
Problems with Proton booster fixed

Decontamination continues at Baikonur after Proton abortive launc

Russia launches three communication satellites

Arianespace remains the global launch services leader

ROCKET SCIENCE
Communications Tests Go the Distance for MAVEN

Curiosity Rover Detects No Methane On Mars

Robotic Arm Goes to Work on Rock Target

India unveils Mars mission spacecraft

ROCKET SCIENCE
Watch Out for the Harvest Moon

Chang'e-3 lunar probe sent to launch site

Sixteen Tons of Moondust

Scientists say water on moon may have originated on Earth

ROCKET SCIENCE
New Horizons - Late in Cruise, and a Binary Ahoy

Pluto Science Conference Exceeds Expectations

SciTechTalk: Grab your erasers, there are more moons than we thought

NASA Hubble Finds New Neptune Moon

ROCKET SCIENCE
ESA selects SSTL to design Exoplanet satellite mission

Coldest Brown Dwarfs Blur Lines between Stars and Planets

NASA-funded Program Helps Amateur Astronomers Detect Alien Worlds

Observations strongly suggest distant super-Earth has water atmosphere

ROCKET SCIENCE
NEXT Provides Lasting Propulsion and High Speeds for Deep Space Missions

Wind Tunnel Testing Used to Ensure SLS Will 'Breeze' Through Liftoff

US launches unmanned Cygnus cargo ship to ISS

Experimental Spaceplane Shooting for "Aircraft-Like" Operations in Orbit

ROCKET SCIENCE
China's space station to open for foreign peers

Last Days for Tiangong

China civilian technology satellites put into use

China to launch lunar lander by end of year: media

ROCKET SCIENCE
NASA Highlights Asteroid Grand Challenge at World Maker Faire

Take a Virtual, High-Resolution Tour of Vesta

Team Attempts To Restore Communications With Deep Impact

University of Tennessee professor helps to discover near-Earth asteroid is really a comet




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement