On Monday, Dec. 5, the first of four lettuce leaf harvests from the Veg-03 ground control took place at Kennedy Space Center as researchers implemented a technique called “cut-and-come-again.” The idea is to cut a few leaves from the ‘Outredgeous’ red romaine lettuce plants about every 10 days as the remaining leaves continue to grow. Unlike the harvest conducted aboard the station last Friday where the astronauts ate the fruits of their labor, the leaves cut at Kennedy were bagged, weighed and placed in a freezer for future use.
The purpose of the ground Veggie system is to provide a control group to compare against the lettuce grown in orbit. Some of the future harvests on the station will be saved for scientific comparison once the leaves are returned to the space center. Not only will they compare the yield grown in space versus that on Earth, but researchers also will conduct food safety analysis for the “cut-and-come-again” technique to monitor the microbial load on the plant leaves to see how it changes over time.
The safety of each worker is the most important priority at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The center’s world-class Emergency Response Team (ERT), part of the center’s Protective Services, continually upgrade its skills in order to provide the greatest protection to the workforce and assets at the premier spaceport.
ERT members train on a regular basis to keep their skills current. They also recently competed in the 34th Annual SWAT Round-up International at the Lawson Lamar Firearms and Tactical Training Center in Orlando. Eight of Kennedy’s ERT members competed in five tactical challenges that were physically and mentally demanding. They competed with 60 teams from the U.S. and around the world. Some of the international competitors included teams from Hungary, Brazil, Jamaica and St Maarten.
“Preparing for and competing in the events helps to build skills and camaraderie among our team members,” said William Young, ERT commander with Chenega Infinity LLC. “But the most valuable aspect of the seven-day event is the relationships that are built with the other teams.”
Kennedy’s ERT members placed third and received awards for their finish in two of the five events: the “Officer Rescue” and “Tower Scramble.” The team also engaged in specialized training and operational debriefs, met to discuss common issues and challenges facing law enforcement, compared training and operational methods, and built relationships with neighboring agencies that can support each other during real-life critical incidents.
“Our team is very competitive in the events and, even more importantly, supportive of the other teams, especially those that we work and meet with regularly from the central Florida region,” Young said.
Testing of several of the umbilical lines that will attach to NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket from the tower on the mobile launcher continues at the Launch Equipment Test Facility (LETF) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Core Stage Inter-tank Umbilical (CSITU) arrived at the LETF and was attached to the “C” tower of the Vehicle Motion Simulator 2 test fixture. Engineers with the Ground Systems Development and Operations Program and the Engineering Directorate will prepare the umbilical for a series of tests to confirm it is functioning properly and ready to support the SLS rocket for launch.
The tests will begin in January 2017 and are scheduled to be completed by the end of February. Testing will include hydraulic system controller tuning, umbilical plate mate and leak checks, primary and secondary disconnect testing at ambient temperatures, and fire suppression system functional checks. Also, a series of primary and secondary disconnect testing at liquid nitrogen and liquid hydrogen temperatures, minus 321 and minus 421 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively, will be performed.
The CSITU is a swing arm umbilical that will connect to the SLS core stage inter-tank. The umbilical’s main function is to vent gaseous hydrogen from the core stage. The arm also provides conditioned air, pressurized gases, and power and data connection to the core stage.
The CSITU will be located at about the 140-foot-level on the mobile launcher tower, between the Core Stage liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tanks, and will swing away before launch. The umbilical is one of several umbilicals that will be installed on the mobile launcher tower and attach to the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft.
The Orion spacecraft is scheduled to launch in late 2018 atop the SLS rocket on a three-week mission that will take it thousands of miles beyond the moon and back during Exploration Mission 1.
While residents of Florida’s east coast listened to the wind and rain as Hurricane Matthew churned past on the morning of Friday, Oct. 7, Kennedy Space Center’s Damage Assessment and Recovery Team (DART) leaders were on the phone to discuss how the center was faring.
The eye of the powerful Category 3 storm passed just 20 to 25 miles east of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, with Kennedy’s Launch Pad 39B near the western eyewall experiencing peaks gusts of 107 mile-per-hour winds.
The DART team’s job: to identify and triage any damage or other safety issues, with the goal of returning the center to normal operations.
A new liquid hydrogen (LH2) liquid separator tank has arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will be used to support the agency’s Space Launch System rocket and all future launches from Launch Pad 39B.
The tank was lifted by crane, rotated, and then lowered on the transporter for the move to the pad.
The existing hydrogen vent system that terminates at a flare stack was designed for gaseous hydrogen. New requirements for Exploration Mission 1 and future launches include the need to address liquid hydrogen in the vent system. The new LH2 separator/storage tank will be added to the existing hydrogen vent system to assure gaseous hydrogen is delivered downstream to the flare stack.
At Pad B, the existing hydrogen vent line and supporting systems will be modified to accommodate the new LH2 liquid separator tank. The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program and the Engineering Directorate at Kennedy are performing the upgrades to Launch Pad 39B to support the agency’s premier multi-user spaceport.
The 60,000 gallon tank was built by INOXCVA, in Baytown, Texas, a subcontractor to Precision Mechanical Inc. in Cocoa, Florida. It is about 56 feet long, with a 14-foot diameter.