For release: 04/25/02
Release #: 02-105
April 2002 Space Launch Initiative Media Update
See what is new in technology development in the Space Launch Initiative. Highlights include:
- NASA's Marshall Center completes laboratory set-up for integrated navigation system on second generation reusable launch vehicle
- "ARMOR" suggests tough, practical protection for second generation reusable launch vehicle
- Space Launch Initiative's Propulsion project completes catalyst sensitivity testing with hydrogen peroxide
NASA’s Marshall Center completes laboratory set-up for integrated navigation system on second generation reusable launch vehicle
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., has completed its set-up for a laboratory testbed to develop an advanced navigation system in second generation reusable launch vehicles. The laboratory has begun testing combinations of Global Positioning System (GPS) components a satellite-based location and navigation system with Inertial Navigation System (INS) components sensors on a vehicle that determine angular velocity and acceleration at various points. The GPS and INS components work together to provide a space vehicle with guidance, navigation and control. The integration will enable the vehicle operating system to track where the vehicle is in space, what its trajectory is and should be, and how to adapt to errors to stay on course. The use of inertial navigation systems for navigation is not new to space technology the Space Shuttle
currently uses it. However, Space Launch Initiative is expanding the technology to integrate GPS and INS components to allow the vehicle to better define its position, adapt to flight errors and continue on course.
By testing various GPS and INS components together, the Marshall Center team will determine the best combination based on requirements for the second generation Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV). Testing results also will provide ready-made pairs of various GPS and INS components for future RLVs. This advanced technology will lower operational cost and enhance the safety of RLVs by providing a more comprehensive navigation system with greater capabilities including the ability to react to a flight error and compensate to continue the mission.
For more information, please contact June Malone at the Marshall Media Relations Department at (256) 544-0034, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
"ARMOR" suggests tough, practical protection for second generation reusable launch vehicle
What’s better than a lightweight Space Shuttle skin that can take a 3,000-degree-Fahrenheit beating -- and still return the spacecraft safely home? A skin that can do all that without needing extensive maintenance before the next flight. With that goal in mind, engineers have begun testing a new thermal protection system (TPS) technology called ARMOR, short for Adaptable, Robust, Metallic, Operable, and Reusable TPS at NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. ARMOR is one of several new concepts for advanced thermal protection being investigated as part of NASA’s Space Launch Initiative (SLI).
Current alloys used for the panels protect to 1,800-2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Researchers are working to develop alloys that can protect at the extreme temperature experienced at reentry: 3,000-degrees-Fahrenheit.
BFGoodrich Aerostructures Group of Chula Vista, Calif., has fabricated several ARMOR panels for Langley. The damage-resistant, yet light-weight, metallic panels can be manufactured to be readily removed for inspection or repair. Development of a highly effective thermal protection system is an important step in the quest for routine, low-cost access to space. The next generation of reusable launch vehicles will need to incorporate added protection from low-speed impacts during ground operations, launch and landing; high-speed on-orbit impacts from micrometeoroids and space debris; and rain erosion during ascent and landing.
For more information, call Keith Henry at the Langley Public Affairs Office at (757) 864-6120 or e-mail at email@example.com
Space Launch Initiative’s Propulsion project completes catalyst sensitivity testing with hydrogen peroxide
NASA engineers, along with General Kinetics of Lake Forest, Calif., have recently completed an effort to test the sensitivity of hydrogen peroxide catalysts to propellant impurities. Catalysts are used to speed up the decomposition process of certain chemicals to create usable by-products. Hydrogen peroxide is a desirable propellant for the second generation reusable launch vehicle because it is non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and stored at room temperature.
The sensitivity tests run 98 percent hydrogen peroxide through a pipe-like test article that contains a filter-like metallic screen. The metallic screen interacts with the hydrogen peroxide, causing the hydrogen peroxide to rapidly decompose to super heated steam and oxygen. The steam and oxygen can then be used as an oxidizer for a rocket engine or to drive a turbopump.
Engineers tested the metallic screens with hydrogen peroxide solutions that included various stabilizers, such as tin, phosphate, and nitrate. Stabilizers are added to the hydrogen peroxide solution during production to offset any typical contaminants that might have come in contact with the solution such as aluminum, organic carbon compounds, or stainless steel and cause the peroxide to decompose during storage. High levels of these substances can deteriorate the efficiency and life of the catalyst. By testing solutions of hydrogen peroxide with various stabilizers and contaminants, NASA engineers can understand the tolerance of the catalyst to impurities, and can develop an industry standard for rocket grade hydrogen peroxide. The tests can also verify a hardware technology that will increase reliability and operability by using a long-life component for the second generation
reusable launch vehicle.
For more information, please contact June Malone at the Marshall Media Relations Department at (256) 544-0034 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
For additional news and information on the Space Launch Initiative, please visit the Space Launch Initiative on the Web at:
http://www.slinews.com/ or http://www.spacetransportation.com/
Note to Editors/News Directors: The Space Launch Initiative Media Update is a regular progress report to keep you informed about the technology development activities of the program. Interviews and photos supporting the Space Launch Initiative are available to news media representatives by contacting June Malone at the Marshall Media Relations Department at (256) 544-0034.
If you would like to receive our releases by e-mail, please send your e-mail address to Judy.Pettus@msfc.nasa.gov
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