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NASA and ATK's DM-2 Test Firing - SpacePod 2010.09.07

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Mike Yates: If you look over here, you'll see three case segments. These are three of the five pieces that that will be used for the DM-3 static test. The fourth of the four is behind this yellow door here. It's going to come out here in a few minutes with one of the spits. So we have four of the five here. The fifth one, which is the aft segment, is still in (mumbles) and next week we start working on it. Jason Rhian: I'm here with Paul Karner and we're standing in front of this massive mock-up of the ... Paul, I'm going to let him tell you where we're at. Paul: Yeah, you're right Jason. This is a mock-up of the new launch vehicle for NASA, the Aries and what this is allowing us to do here is get in and check out a bunch of stuff out electrically and make sure it's working so when we go and fly it for the first time, it flies right and we know where it's going. We've got a lot of great stuff going on. A lot of software, a lot of firmware, a lot of integration activities. It has just been a real kick for all of us to work on it and to be able to be a part of this human spaceflight effort. This is what will help steer the rocket and get it to the point in space that it needs to be at, so we can get those astronauts up there. It's been an absolute blast and we're getting paid to do it. Jason: As an intern, a volunteer, and a journalist I've only .... I would say this is the closest to one of these that's going to fire the next day that I've ever been. And it's a little intimidating. It's got all of these tubes sticking out of it, it's got caution signs everywhere, it's got instrumentation to record data strapped all around it. It is just a very impressive-looking piece of equipment and I'm sure tomorrow it's going to give us one heck of a show. You're good, you're good. I've got a NASA guy here, so Marshall, this is Dan. Dan say hi. Dan: I'm freezing, I can't say hi. It's cold in here! Jason: Ok, we just left the DO-2 building. It's nice to be outside in the 50 degrees, and we're taking a look at the equipment used to keep the inside cool. And I'm not sure you can hear me, I hope that you can. But if you look at that pipe, it's white. That's not because they paint it white or some coolant, that's because that's ice! That is ice, check that out. That's how cold it is. Jessica Rye: Alright, although your technical terminology was fabulous... (Jason: Yes!) What's behind us is the Co2 quench arm. And what that does is once we're done firing we need to cool the motor down. So that quench arm will swing around and that end will go ahead and move into the motor and the Co2 goes in there and helps cool the motor down. What we want to make sure to do is stop the engine from burning and the motor from burning so we can preserve the data. So we want to see how it is. So that's a very important part of our test. Jason: They are currently doing the go, no-go for test. You can see they have a countdown clock over there. And this place is packed with officials, astronauts, packed, racked and stacked into the Utah countryside. Announcer: 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... Fire. Code 5 (cheering of crowd) Alex Priskos: This motor obviously is designed as a five-segment motor. It produces about 3.6 million pounds of thrust, which is equivalent to about 22,000 horsepower. So it's just an incredible amount of force and energy that's unleashed in there. What's interesting, one of the interesting details, is the DM-1 we co-laminated was about 80 degrees. So this weekend today it was about 40 degrees, so when we do that we loose about 80,000 lbs of thrust. Ah, and that's one of the reasons we test under hot and cold conditions. So that we can understand how they play into this trajectory. Jason: So Alex, you're pulling all these numbers just out of thin air. Are they just off the top of your head? Alex: I do have a cheat sheet, but I try ... Jason: Aw, come on, look at the NASA guy has got a cheat sheet! Alex: No, actually my cheat sheet has got old numbers on it so I didn't pull it out today. It's got DM-1 numbers, and I had to pull it out the other day and I said, "These won't work for today." So we're giving you today's numbers. Jason: Final question: Ok, so the first one was average at 83, the second one was cold at 40 and the next one is supposed to be hot. Now will they raise the temperature? Alex: Yes, we will take the same building and we run refrigeration units in to cool this one down to 40. We will fire the next one at 90 degrees. So we will actually get extra energy out of the system. And today it's interesting. DM-1 burned for about 120 seconds. Today's when we go cold it burned for 125-126 seconds where we were today. And you'll go the opposite direction and you'll be a little shorter than 120 seconds when we do the hot test. Mike Bloomfield: Well if you look at the physics of putting something in space, you have to get to this magic speed of 17,500 miles per hour. Jason: Right. Mike: So the question becomes what's the best way to do that. And it turns out that if you take a look at the launch profile, the most efficient launch profile uses a combination of both solids and liquids. In the first stage, you're down low, and you want to use the solid rocket motor because it has much higher thrust-to-weight ratio than the liquid motor does. Once you get up higher and you get some speed underneath you, then it's much better to transition actually to a liquid motor for two reasons. One, it's a higher efficiency motor and number two, you can actually target a speed to cut off the motor, where as a solid motor you have to wait till it burns out. So that's the physics behind it and that's the theory behind it. Now if that's true, then we ought to be able to go look at launch vehicles around the world and see if in fact that's what they do. And amazingly when we go canvas what is out there in the world today, almost all the rockets that are out there today use some form of solid on the first stage, whether it's a strap-on solid like you see on some of the heavy-lifts, or the Deltas or the Atlas and then they use a liquid on an upper stage. The Japanese do it, the Europeans do it, the Americans do it because the laws of physics dictate it. So the point is, you need both. You need a heavy lift, I mean you need solids down low, and then you need liquids up top. Jason: I'm going to do this for my producer, it will make him happy... Mike, what is your favorite orbiter? Of all the orbiters, which one is your favorite? Mike: I flew Atlantis twice, so that is my favorite.

Video Details

Duration: 9 minutes and 1 second
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 77
Posted by: spacevidcast on Sep 9, 2010

The deserts of Promontory, Utah came alive with fire and thunder as NASA and ATK tested the Development Motor-2 (DM-2). The five-segment, first-stage of the Ares rocket was activated at 9:27 a.m. MDT on Aug. 31. The still morning air surrendered its silence to the sound of unleashed technological thunder. The surrounding countryside was bathed in the colors of fire as a huge plume of fame shot out the back of the solid motor.
The DM-2 test was conducted to gain data on some 53 designs incorporated in this system. Some of the elements tested include the redesigned rocket nozzle, new insulation used in this design and the motor casing's liner. When activated the DM-2 produced an estimated 3.6 million pounds of thrust -- equaling 22 million horsepower. The motor had 760 instruments incorporated into it these instruments worked to collect vital information regarding the rocket's performance when it was fired.
The horizontal ground test firing is what is known as a "cold motor" test. This is accomplished by chilling the DM-2 down to 40 degrees F. This is done to measure how the motor performs at very low temperatures. The test also was held to prove out design specifications of new materials used in the motor joints.
These new elements will eliminate the need for the joint heaters that are currently used. (these heaters were required in the 4-segment version of the motor's design). It is hoped that with the addition of these new modifications weight will be dramatically reduced, launch operations will be simplified and the overall system will be far less complicated
DM-2 is a combination of Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) segments that have flown on 57 shuttle missions total. These segments are recycled after every mission. Once they have been jettisoned from the space shuttle they are recovered out in the Atlantic Ocean by recovery ships (named Freedom Star and Liberty Star). From there, they are shipped back to ATK's plant where they are broken down into segments again and refurbished for the next mission.

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