Denver, Colo. (Feb. 8, 2011) - United Launch Alliance (ULA) completed the most significant portion of the final milestone for its Commercial Crew Development Emergency Detection System (EDS) project in December, demonstrating the EDS test bed in ULA's Denver Launch Support Center using the high fidelity Systems Integration Laboratory (SIL).
During testing last year, several abort simulation runs were successfully generated that illustrate the EDS abort detection capability for a wide range of anomalous launch vehicle conditions, both slow and quick to evolve into a catastrophic event. As soon as EDS detected the anomalous condition, the launch vehicle issued a command to the spacecraft to separate and initiate the abort escape sequence. As part of the demonstration, launch vehicle and spacecraft were animated using a high fidelity simulation tool to provide a visualization of the abort sequence once it had been initiated. Various combinations of the launch vehicle and winged and capsule type spacecraft were used during the simulated abort sequence.
Approximately 50 representatives from the spacecraft and NASA community attended including NASA crew members and MOD support.
Other accomplishments achieved to-date for the CCDev EDS Development and Demonstration activities include:
- Successfully completed milestones 1, 2 and 3 on schedule, encompassing the kick off, requirements review and a conceptual design review for the EDS architecture and abort demonstration task;
- Completed reconfiguration of the SIL test bed with a prototype EDS flight processor ahead of schedule and with significantly less modifications than anticipated;
- Added enhanced capabilities to the SIL hardware configuration abort demo, allowing crew intervention using the abort inhibit and manual abort options;
- Developed and demonstrated crew display technology during an actual launch (AV-019) with NASA flight and ground controller crew members;
- Completed the development and testing of the fault detection algorithms that were selected to demonstrate the selected abort scenario cases ahead of schedule;
- Initiated SC interface requirements development with several SC contractor on CCDev and others interested in using Atlas as well; and
- Performed a significant amount of fault coverage assessment for both Atlas and Delta configurations.
In addition to the CCDev accomplishments video, Dr. Sowers showed a video of former STS Commander Jeff Ashby in the NASTAR flight simulator using an Atlas V flight profile. The video highlights the capability of astronauts to withstand the acceleration levels experienced during an ISS flight profile. Special Aerospace Services (SAS) contributed funding to demonstrate this capability as part of their partnership with United Launch Alliance under the Commercial Crew development program. Their co investment commitment in researching EDS crew display and related abort considerations is an essential first step in understanding additional factors affecting crew abort capability.
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