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Mission Success at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Our people are making a difference for mission success, catch the latest updates from our Jacobs Space Exploration Group.

Marshall Space Flight Center has been solving complex technical problems throughout its history to support NASA’s spaceflight endeavors, research activities and new missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Marshall is committed to mission success and to ensuring the center's and agency's workforce, programs, projects and support operations are as safe as possible. Whether it’s the recent completion of the largest test campaign at the center since the Space Shuttle Program more than 30 years ago or the center's focus on mission, hardware and crew safety – each is just as critical to the readiness and success of complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars.

Our people are making a difference for mission success!

Catch the latest exciting updates from the Jacobs Space Exploration Group (JSEG) highlighting our contributions on the recent successful completion of SLS structural qualification testing and our commitment to workplace safety and NASA mission success at Marshall.

Space Launch System Liquid Oxygen Tank Qualification Test

On June 24, 2020, NASA’s SLS Program concluded its structural qualification test campaign at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, with the successful testing of the rocket’s liquid oxygen (LOX) tank. JSEG provided essential engineering and technician support for the structural test program that culminated in a critical milestone test for the SLS Artemis I mission.

To prepare for the Artemis I flight, a structural test article (STA) of the LOX tank underwent weeks of testing to ensure it is strong enough to withstand the extreme forces it will experience in flight. The LOX Tank STA completed a series of qualification tests which concluded with a dramatic Test to Failure (TTF). Secured in the test stand, large hydraulic cylinders applied loads to simulate the extreme forces of launch and flight. The TTF subjected the STA to loads almost twice the expected flight loads. This was an intentional “overstress” to determine structural limits and to verify safety margins for flight. The TTF was a “combined environments” test consisting of preloading with water, then pressurizing the tank while applying the external loads.

Jacobs engineers served in critical support roles, including primary test conductor and loads engineer. In addition, Jacobs engineers supported NASA and the SLS core stage prime contractor with pretest coordination, analysis, and verification that all systems were ready and safe to support this milestone test. Jacobs also provided experts to collect data needed to characterize the footprint for Core Stage reentry debris after burnout and separation. With the LOX Tank TTF, this completes all structural qualification tests for the SLS Core Stage. Previously, JSEG supported successful structural qualification tests for the SLS Core Stage Engine Section, Intertank and Liquid Hydrogen Tank.

Watch the video below and explore more in NASA's infographic here.

Mission Success is in My Hands: Rebecca Crownover

Our own Becky Crownover, a JSEG team lead in the Component Development Area (CDA), was recently recognized for her contributions to workplace safety and NASA mission success at Marshall Space Flight Center.

In a NASA article spotlighting how eight team members at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center make meaningful connections between their jobs and the safety and success of NASA and Marshall missions, Becky said that while her technical aspects of overseeing work orders and timelines to prepare for mission and launch success is an important part of her role, her most important responsibility is keeping her team safe.

“My team of technicians do inherently dangerous tasks every day, whether it’s welding or operating high-pressure systems,” she said in the piece. “Making sure they all go home safe and sound is my highest priority each and every day.”

In addition to the fabrication and test capabilities for flight hardware, including NASA’s Orion crew capsule, Becky’s department, is also a learning environment for new engineers.

Becky Crownover
Photo courtesy of NASA

Established as a proving ground for new propulsion system components and system design, the CDA helps educate young engineers by letting them get their hands on real hardware, explained Becky.

“Once a concept has been created, we can build the piece parts, assemble the component, build a test system and do performance testing. These things are essential to advancing state-of-the-art propulsion system components, particularly for long-duration missions that require improved performance,” she shared.

Becky’s feature article series is part of the Mission Success Is in Our Hands initiative, a centerwide campaign led by Marshall's Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate and Jacobs, that promotes and strengthens the center's focus on mission, hardware and crew safety.

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