3497. New Mass Properties Engineers’ Aerospace Ballasting Challenge Facilitated by the SAWE Community


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Amanda Cutright, Brendan Shaughnessy: 3497. New Mass Properties Engineers’ Aerospace Ballasting Challenge Facilitated by the SAWE Community. 2010.



The discipline of Mass Properties Engineering tends to find the engineers; not typically vice
versa. In this case, two engineers quickly found their new responsibilities deep in many aspects
of mass properties engineering and required to meet technical challenges in a fast paced
environment. As part of NASA’s Constellation Program, a series of flight tests will be conducted
to evaluate components of the new spacecraft launch vehicles. One of these tests is the Pad Abort
1 (PA-1) flight test which will test the Launch Abort System (LAS), a system designed to provide
escape for astronauts in the event of an emergency. The Flight Test Articles (FTA) used in this
flight test are required to match mass properties corresponding to the operational vehicle, which
has a continually evolving design. Additionally, since the structure and subsystems for the Orion
Crew Module (CM) FTA are simplified versions of the final product, thousands of pounds of
ballast are necessary to achieve the desired mass properties. These new mass properties
engineers are responsible for many mass properties aspects in support of the flight test, including
meeting the ballasting challenge for the CM Boilerplate FTA. SAWE expert and experienced
mass properties engineers, both those that are directly on the team and many that supported via a
variety of Society venues, significantly contributed to facilitating the success of addressing this
particular mass properties ballasting challenge, in addition to many other challenges along the
way. This paper discusses the details regarding the technical aspects of this particular mass
properties challenge, as well as identifies recommendations for new mass properties engineers
that were learned from the SAWE community along the way.


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