A test version of the launch vehicle stage adapter (LVSA) is moved to a 65-foot-tall test stand at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The LVSA will connect the core stage of NASA's Space Launch System rocket to the interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS). The ICPS is a liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen-based system that will give Orion the big, in-space push needed to fly beyond the moon before it returns to Earth on the first flight of SLS in 2018. The test version LVSA will be stacked with other test pieces of the upper part of the SLS rocket and pushed, pulled and twisted as part of an upcoming test series to ensure each structure can withstand the incredible stresses of launch.
Engineers are getting ready to put the pressure on hardware for the world's most powerful rocket, NASA’s Space Launch System, as part of a rigorous test series to ensure each structure can withstand the incredible stresses of launch. SLS and the agency’s Orion spacecraft will travel to new destinations in deep space as NASA continues to prepare for its Journey to Mars.
"Not only is this series more cost effective by testing several qualification articles together, but it also helps us to understand how the flight-like hardware will interface together," said Mike Roberts, mechanical team lead in the Engineering Directorate at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
A 65-foot-tall test stand at Marshall is being readied for the upcoming test series, where two simulators and four qualification articles of the upper part of the SLS will be stacked and then pushed, pulled and twisted by forces similar to those experienced in flight. "We have to make sure all the hardware is structurally sound and will not compromise under the incredible amounts of force," said Dee VanCleave, lead test engineer for the structural loads test at Marshall. "The best way to verify these major structures are ready for launch is to test them."