OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Passes First Major Qualification Test

The development of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft continues to make great progress. When I last reported on the status of the vehicle, we were preparing to deliver the structure to Lockheed Martin’s Structures Test Lab to undergo static load testing. I am happy to report that the Static Test is complete! The last load case was performed in mid August. The Static Test fixture has been disassembled and the core structure sub-assemblies have been delivered to the high bay where they await the arrival of the rest of the spacecraft components.

The completed OSIRIS-REx spacecraft structure - ready for static test!

The completed OSIRIS-REx spacecraft structure – ready for static test!

One of the key aspects of spacecraft development is known as the Ground Support Equipment. This category includes all the hardware and software necessary to verify that the Flight System meets all technical requirements. It spans a wide range of components including test and control instrumentation, software, ground handling and lift fixtures, special tooling, special test equipment, and shipping containers that are required to manufacture, integrate, test, calibrate, ship, and prepare the Flight System for launch.

The lift fixtures are specifically designed for the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Be careful with that crane, please!

The lift fixtures are specifically designed for the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Be careful with that crane, please!

Over the course of spacecraft assembly, test, and launch operations (ATLO), we will have to move the spacecraft between various facilities on the Lockheed Martin campus. Ultimately, we will have to ship it down to Cape Canaveral, where it will meet up with the Atlas V rocket that will launch us into space. Each time we transport the spacecraft, there is a risk of damage. To prevent this from happening, we make sure that all equipment is functioning properly, prior to using it to handle the spacecraft.

The spacecraft is wrapped up tight before any transport takes place. This helps keep the spacecraft clean, which is essential to achieve our prime science objective of returning a pristine sample of Bennu.

The spacecraft is wrapped up tight before any transport takes place. This helps keep the spacecraft clean, which is essential to achieve our prime science objective of returning a pristine sample of Bennu.

The static test lab is on the other side of the Lockheed Martin campus from the composite shop. The driver moves slow and steady to minimize the risk to the spacecraft.

The static test lab is on the other side of the Lockheed Martin campus from the composite shop. The driver moves slow and steady to minimize the risk to the spacecraft.

A good old forklift is used to load and unload the spacecraft from the transport.

A good old forklift is used to load and unload the spacecraft from the transport vehicle.

The static test went amazingly well. We now have confidence that the structure can handle the launch loads for our baseline mission design, which defines the minimum amount of fuel needed to get to Bennu and back. In addition, we made sure to test the structure for the loads associated with a full fuel tank, ensuring that we will have some extra propellant to handle unforeseen circumstances while in space.

The spacecraft is lifted off the transport fixture in preparation for the static test.

The spacecraft is lifted off the transport fixture in preparation for the static test.

The static test fixture is a series of vices, which push and pull on the structure to simulate the loads that the spacecraft will experience during launch.

The static test fixture is a series of vices, which push and pull on the structure to simulate the loads that the spacecraft will experience during launch.

Now that the static test is complete the next steps are to complete the test paperwork, which includes the close out procedures and the final test report, and continue the hardware build by adding special inserts, brackets, and the secondary structure components. The spacecraft has been transported out of the static test lab and is now in the high bay where it will reside until system assembly is complete and ready for more extensive environmental testing. We are now waiting for the propulsion system to arrive and begin its integration onto the structure. Stay tuned for details of this next step in the development of OSIRIS-REx.

2 comments

  1. […] ablaufen soll, ein Paper aus OSIRIS-Daten der Anflugphase und Artikel hier, hier und hier. Plus Fortschritte bei OSIRIS-REx (auch ein Artikel und Gedanken zum Asteroiden-Abbau), der Status von Curiosity (mehr, mehr, mehr, […]

  2. […] many components of the flight system are now built and their mass has been measured. For example, the spacecraft structure is complete and the propellant tank has been installed. Our current best estimate for the as-built dry mass of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: