ASRC Aerospace works with NASA on Constellation future spacecraft systems

Engineers at ASRC Aerospace Corp. in Greenbelt, Md., are working with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officials to design ground support equipment and systems for NASA’s Constellation Program to build new manned spacecraft.

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By Courtney E. Howard

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. - Engineers at ASRC Aerospace Corp. in Greenbelt, Md., are working with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officials to design ground support equipment and systems for NASA’s Constellation Program to build new manned spacecraft.

ASRC Aerospace won a three-year extension to an original five-year university-affiliated Spaceport Technology Development Contract (USTDC). As a result, the company’s engineers are providing design and development engineering, systems engineering, con-figuration management, three-dimensional modeling and visualization, and project management services to NASA’s 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).

The Ares I/Orion vehicle, part of the CxP, will transport personnel and equipment to the International Space Station (ISS). In addition to offering crew rescue and crew transfer capabilities, Ares I/Orion is expected to perform lunar and Mars missions, as is the Ares V vehicle, a follow-on development effort.

The program’s GO project is responsible for the launch site development, which includes new and modified facilities, ground support equipment (GSE), and launch processing planning efforts. The project also encompasses ground processing and operations efforts at the launch, landing, and retrieval site, and supports spacecraft and launch vehicle design for operability and interface definition to ground systems.

ASRC Aerospace is contracted to deliver technical design support and project planning to the Constellation Ground Operations Project Office and the Engineering Directorate at KSC. Company personnel are involved in the development of the program’s requirements, design concepts, and products; the operations formulation phase; and supporting program trade studies. In fact, the ASRC Aerospace team will provide design, development, implementation, and sustaining engineering of systems and facilities involved in the Ares I/Orion project; and, its design engineering services will extend into the Ares V project development phase.

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The Ares V vehicle is shown prepared for takeoff on the Mobile Launcher at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A.
Click here to enlarge image

“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,” explains 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.”

To date, the team has logged specific design accomplishments that include: providing system architecture support to the baseline effort of the command, control, and communications architecture for the Ares I spacecraft; preparation of the requirements documentation for all CxP GO elements, systems, and subsystems, including detailed analysis of all electrical and mechanical systems; and tailoring and using the Monte Carlo simulation program to analyze the Pad 39B Lightning Protection System and validate the three-tower design vs. the original four-tower design concept.

ASRC Aerospace, a wholly owned subsidiary of Arctic Slope Regional Corp., provides professional, technical, and engineering services. Arctic Slope Regional Corp. is an Alaska Native Corporation owned by more than 9,500 Inupiat Eskimos primarily located along Alaska’s North Slope.

For more information, visit ASRC Aerospace online at www.asrcaerospace.com.

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