|Posted on Oct 25, 2009 04:24:24 PM | Dan Kanigan | 9 Comments ||
The team completed the final dress rehearsal of the Ares I-X launch yesterday—the launch countdown simulation certification run. It was the last time the launch team will have to practice their procedures before the launch on Tuesday.
Now, Firing Room 1 in the Vehicle Assembly Building’s Launch Control Center is where the action is: the people who monitor the vehicle and press the ignition key to “go!” However, part of the launch team also can be found in a building across the Banana River. A converted aircraft hangar at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station might seem like an unlikely place to put a launch support team, but it works great for the I-X Launch Support Team.
The Launch Support Team is like the “back room” or “help line” for the launch controllers, with rows of seats full of subject matter experts and managers on the consoles on hand to answer questions when problems come up.
These simulations are for learning, not necessarily for making life easy, so the countdown simulation was specifically designed to throw several curveballs at each of the teams supporting launch up to and including the Launch Test Director and the Constellation Program Manager Jeff Hanley.
After the simulation scenario exercises are finished every issue is reviewed by the team with the Firing Room controller for each element summarizing what she or he thought had happened and what steps were taken to correct the problems. The members of the launch team from the other sites then chimed in to offer congratulations, discuss what could be done differently or make helpful suggestions for the future. The clarity and honesty of this sort of exchange is necessary so everyone “in the loop” understands what went right or wrong.
As Bob Ess, the Mission Manager, put it during the Flight Test Readiness Review, “The only failure would be a failure to learn from this test.” The Launch Support Team was exhausted after the simulation, but aware that there is always more to learn in flight testing.
Tags : General