NASA Selects Study Proposals To Improve Advanced SLS Booster
By Jefferson Morris
Source: Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
• “Structures Risk Reduction Task,” Dynetics Inc.
• “Integrated Booster Static Test,” ATK Launch Systems Inc.
Dynetics is partnered with Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) to repurpose Rocketdyne’s Apollo-era F-1 engine for the SLS. A relative newcomer in the space launch arena, Dynetics’ proposals are geared towards reducing risk on critical booster components.
The company’s F-1 risk reduction tasks would include gas generator and powerpack evaluations, according to Steve Cook, Dynetics’ director of space technologies and NASA’s former Ares program manager. The company’s main propulsion system risk-reduction proposal would involve cryogenic valve and line-in valve demonstrations, and the structures proposal would demonstrate low-cost cryogenic tank manufacturing approaches.
“Those risk reductions are focused heavily around affordability ... because a big deal on the Space Launch System is affordability, while also giving NASA additional performance margin above their 130-metric-ton requirement,” Cook tells Aviation Week. “With an F-1 based approach, we get significant performance enhancement beyond the 130 [tons], on the order of 20 metric tons.”
If chosen for formal contracts, Dynetics demonstrations would take place variously at company facilities, NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., where Dynetics is headquartered. With PWR as a partner, Dynetics also plans to throw its hat in the ring as a prime in the future competition to build the advanced booster for SLS.