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SLS Green Run static fire cut short by “intentionally conservative” test limits

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Updated 7:45 p.m. Eastern with details from briefing.

WASHINGTON — A static-fire test of the Space Launch System core stage ended early Jan. 16 when a hydraulic system for one its four engines hit an “intentionally conservative” limit during the test.

In a Jan. 19 statement, NASA said the hydraulic system for Engine 2 on the core stage “exceeded the pre-set test limits that had been established” for the Green Run test. “As they were programmed to do, the flight computers automatically ended the test.”

Later the same day, during a call with reporters, NASA officials said that the hydraulic reservoir level and hydraulic pressure in the Core Stage Auxiliary Power Unit, or CAPU, for that engine dropped below limits over “a series of milliseconds,” triggering the flight computer to end the test. That CAPU drives a thrust vector control system used to gimbal the engines, and the problem took place about one second after a gimbal sequence started 60 seconds into the test.

That also triggered a shutdown of that CAPU. “The automated software on board shut down CAPU 2 just to safe the system in case there was a problem” with the unit itself, John Shannon, vice president and SLS program manager at Boeing, said during the call.

The hydraulic system problem was not linked to a major component failure (MCF) reported by test controllers about 45 seconds after ignition. NASA said the MCF actually took place 1.5 seconds after ignition, and was caused by the loss of “one leg of redundancy” in instrumentation for Engine 4. “Test constraints for hot fire were set up to allow the test to proceed with this condition, because the engine control system still has sufficient redundancy to ensure safe engine operation during the test,” the agency stated.

NASA is still investigating what officials said shortly after the test was a “flash” seen in the vicinity of a thermal protection blanket around Engine 4. The blanket showed signs of scorching, but that was expected from standard engine operations, and temperatures in the engine section were normal.

The parameters used for the Green Run test, the agency stated, were “intentionally conservative to ensure the safety of the core stage during the test.” NASA officials previously emphasized they were taking a cautious approach to testing the core stage since it is flight hardware, intended for use on the first SLS launch, Artemis 1.

“We have to remember that the rocket we just tested is the rocket that is going to launch Orion around the Moon,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said at a briefing after the Jan. 16 test. “When we do this test, there is risk that we cannot take because this is the same vehicle that will fly Orion.”

“Our test parameters demonstrate our safety-first approach and were appropriately conservative. This core stage is a high-value flight article that will return America to deep space,” Shannon said in a company statement about the Green Run test. “Our redline limits were set to achieve data collection without unnecessarily risking the system.”

But they acknowledged in the call they may have been too conservative. The hydraulic system “had a reading, a parameter, that was maybe set a little too conservatively,” Bridenstine said. “Had this been a real launch, that parameter wouldn’t have been set so conservatively and the rocket would have continued.”

“It’s to walk the fine line between making sure, for the first time that we use any of this hardware, that we have sufficient protection in to keep the stage in a safe configuration, but also to let it operate through the test regime,” Shannon said. “There’s a judgment call in there for how you set those parameters to ensure that the stage remains in a good configuration for a further test or a launch.”

NASA has not yet decided if it will perform a second hotfire test. In comments before the first test, NASA and Boeing officials said that while the test was scheduled to last for 485 seconds, they would collect most of the data they needed after 250 seconds. However, the engine shutdown took place after just 67.2 seconds.

NASA said they want to review the data collected during the test before deciding whether to perform a second hotfire test or ship the stage to the Kennedy Space Center for final preparations for the Artemis 1 mission. “You have to understand the risk of exposing the flight core stage to another round of tests, and how does that risk trade off with the learning that we need to do,” said Kathy Lueders, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations.

One factor, Bridenstine said, is the rated lifetime of the core stage. He said the stage is designed to be filled with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants nine times. That has been done twice so far: a wet dress rehearsal in December and for the static-fire test. A limited amount of propellant was loaded in the stage for the first attempt at the wet dress rehearsal in early December.

Doing another static-fire test means loading the stage with propellants at least one more time. “Every time we do something like that, it takes away one of our nine times that we can tank,” he said. “There’s reasons to do a full duration hotfire, and there’s reasons that maybe we wouldn’t do a full duration hotfire.”

One former NASA official recommended the agency conduct a second hotfire test. “My advice would be to retest and get complete data – may be a couple of weeks but schedule is secondary,” tweeted Wayne Hale, former shuttle program manager and current chairman of the NASA Advisory Council’s Human Exploration and Operations Committee.

John Honeycutt, SLS program manager at NASA, said in the call that work to recycle the engines after the truncated hotfire test is underway, either to support a second hotfire test or to get the stage ready for shipment to KSC. He previously said it would take 21 to 30 days to get the core stage ready, giving NASA time to review the data and decide if a second hotfire is needed.

“The data analysis is going to drive us and inform our decision as to whether we either proceed to the launch or we perform an additional hotfire test,” he said. “We don’t have a date just yet on when we’re going to be at that decision point.”

Source: https://spacenews.com/sls-green-run-static-fire-cut-short-by-intentionally-conservative-test-limits/

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Aeroforma expands sheetmetal aerospace parts production

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The addition of a new hydroform deep draw press from Quintus Technologies brings increased capacity, flexibility, and production efficiencies to aerospace parts manufacturer Aeroforma Technologies.

Installed in the Aeroforma Technologies facility in Cheltenham, the Quintus model QFM 1.1-800 Deep Draw Press uses hydraulic pressure up to 11,600 psi to form parts in a variety of shapes, thicknesses, and tough materials, achieving tight tolerances with minimal thinning.

Proprietary flexible forming technology enables the press to perform four forming operations in a single machine. In addition to block tool forming, cavity tool forming, and expansion forming, the very versatile Quintus press is also equipped with a movable punch forming system for deep drawing of intricate shapes.

The press is a good fit for Aeroforma Technologies, which over several decades has earned an enviable reputation as a supplier of high-quality fabricated metal components to the aerospace industry. Installation of the QFM 1.1-800 represents Aeroforma Technologies’ commitment to benefit its customers by bringing core processes under one roof to reduce lead times, streamline logistics, and increase competitiveness.

“Our strategy of providing a vertically integrated sourcing solution—from raw material procurement through to forming, welding, surface treating, and assembly—is one which our customer base is finding increasingly attractive,” said Antoni Kwiatkowski, group managing director, Aeroforma Technologies. “Key to that strategy is ensuring state-of-the-art machinery along with extensive industry knowledge and experience. With its class-leading hydroform envelope and depth of draw, the Quintus press helps ensure that we remain ahead of the pack.”

The Quintus Flexform process utilises a combination of a single rigid tool half, operating in conjunction with a flexible rubber diaphragm subjected to high hydraulic pressure, to form sheetmetal parts with great accuracy and repeatability. This process produces high-quality parts, in complex shapes and tough alloys, and at tight tolerances. It also generates significant tool and process cost savings, especially of great value where intricately shaped components are required in low to moderate volumes.

The QFM 1.1-800 is equipped with two forming stations, one of which is the deep draw, offering a maximum blank diameter of 43.1 inches (1095 mm) and maximum draw depth of 10 inches (254 mm). The second forming station is tailor made to accommodate block tool, cavity tool, and expansion tool forming.

“Our Flexform technology is ideal for aerospace engine components, including deep drawn parts, in high-strength, heat-resistant materials,” said Jan Söderström, CEO of Quintus Technologies.

www.quintustechnologies.com

The post Aeroforma expands sheetmetal aerospace parts production appeared first on Aerospace Manufacturing.

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/aeroforma-expands-sheetmetal-aerospace-parts-production/

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Meggitt signs another 737 MAX contract

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Meggitt has signed a long-term, £multi-million agreement with Boeing for the supply of cockpit indicators on the 737 MAX. The contract covers a suite of cockpit indicators across all versions of the aircraft.

This contract expands Meggitt content on the 737 MAX programme, which already includes the engine and APU fire detection & suppression systems, electrical power conversion equipment, and elastomeric seals. Deliveries are scheduled to commence in Q2 2022.

Meggitt chief executive, Tony Wood, said: “We are delighted to be expanding our relationship with Boeing at this important time as the 737 MAX returns to service and the wider aviation industry starts to look through the challenges of the last year towards a recovering outlook for air traffic globally.”

www.meggitt.com

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thyssenkrupp Aerospace seals RUAG materials order

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thyssenkrupp Aerospace has announced it will supply the technology group RUAG International with material for projects involving OEMs such as Airbus, Boeing and SAAB starting in 2021.

The agreement covers the procurement and delivery of aluminium, titanium, plastics and steel, just-in-time. The first orders have already been placed with thyssenkrupp Aerospace.

For some of their current projects, RUAG Aerostructures was looking for a partner who could plan material requirements with pinpoint accuracy, while also handling increased material requirements at short notice. These special requirements cover projects, such as the payload mounts for additional fuel tanks for the SAAB JAS 39 Gripen and ailerons for Boeing.

“We look forward to supporting RUAG Aerostructures,” said Ludwig Greiner, key account manager at thyssenkrupp Aerospace Germany. “With our materials expertise and supply chain competence, we can plan for the long term but also respond to rush orders. We deliver the material at the right time, ensuring that our customers can focus on their core business.”

Marco Geering, general manager at RUAG Aerostructures, added: “In our business, reliability and flexibility are particularly important. With thyssenkrupp Aerospace we have a competent partner at our side.”

www.thyssenkrupp-aerospace.com

 

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We Need to Build a Cloud for the Next Decade: Satya Nadella

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As the world enters the second wave of digital transformation, we need to foundationally transform how the cloud can drive the next level of economic growth, Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Satya Nadella said.

Nadella was speaking at the Microsoft Ignite 2021, the annual flagship event virtually attended by more than 100,000 global participants, including IT decision-makers, developers, data professionals, security professionals and other technology enthusiasts.

“The true test of technology has always been whether organizations can improve their time to value, increase agility, and reduce costs…but as the world recovers, it will require much more from technology and the cloud, in particular, to help address our most pressing challenges,” Nadella said.

Five key attributes will drive the next-generation of innovation in the cloud, Nadella said. “These are ubiquitous and decentralized computing, sovereign data and ambient intelligence, empowered creators and communities, expanded economic opportunity for the global workforce, and trust by design,” he said.

As businesses have accelerated their digital journeys over the past year, the demand for technology has significantly picked up to enable various use-cases like telehealth, remote manufacturing, and new ways of working from home. Microsoft believes the cloud has been the foundation to enable all of these.

Microsoft announced ‘Microsoft Mesh’, a new mixed reality platform built on, which enables geographically distributed teams to interact holographically with each other.

“With mixed reality technology, the digital and physical worlds have come together,” Nadella said.

“This has been the dream for mixed reality, the idea from the very beginning,” said Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman. “You can actually feel like you are in the same place with someone sharing content or you can teleport from different mixed reality devices and be present with people even when you’re not physically together.”

Microsoft also announced a new semantic search capability in Azure Cognitive Search, an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered cloud search service for mobile and web app development. This capability enables developers to deliver results based on user intent as opposed to a keyword-based search, which is the industry norm. Semantic search leverages some of the most advanced natural language models to improve the relevance and ranking of search results.

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