The Orion spacecraft recently underwent mass properties verification in Houston in preparation for the second Launch Abort System test. NASA Langley Research Center was intimately involved and LaRC engineers Amanda Cutright and Anjie Emmett were on hand for the operations.
Here is a video clip of Anjie and Amanda explaining the testing:
Knowing the mass and the CG of the Orion spacecraft is a safety of flight issue. The AA-2 (Ascent Abort – [test] Two) test flight will test the Launch Abort System during the critical boost phase of the Space Launch System. The LAS must safely remove the Orion capsule with its crew away from a failing booster if there is a launch mishap. The earlier PA-1 (Pad Abort – [test] One) test performed a similar function, but from a stationary simulated launch pad. The AA-2 capsule is an actual Orion Command Module, instrumented and mass simulated for this test. The fixture seen in the videos was built to enable multiple weight and CG measurements to be made in multiple orientations and is reusable on subsequent Orion vehicles.
The Houston Chronicle also posted an article on the verification test at:
Amanda and Anjie traveled to Johnson Space Center in Houston for the testing. They are seen in the background of the video above.
The Norfolk, VA area newspaper The Daily Press also ran a story about the testing:
Both Amanda Cutright and Anjie Emmet are members of the Hampton Roads Chapter of the SAWE. Amanda is co-chair of the upcoming 78th International Conference on Mass Properties Engineering in Norfolk, VA from May 18 – 23, 2019.
SAWE Vice President – Technical Director