Sunday, January 20, 2008

NASA Aries moon rocket may shake too much

Shaun Saunders sends in this article from Yahoo News:

NASA Engineers are concerned that the new rocket meant to send astronauts to the moon could shake violently during the first few minutes of flight, possibly destroying the entire vehicle. The shaking originates in the first stage of the Ares I rocket, which will lift the Orion crew capsule into orbit. The concern isn't the shaking on the first stage, but how it affects everything that sits on top: the Orion crew capsule, instrument unit, and a booster. The shaking problem, which is common to solid rocket boosters, involves pulses of added acceleration caused by gas vortices in the rocket similar to the wake that develops behind a fast-moving boat. Those vortices happen to match the natural vibrating frequencies of the motor's combustion chamber, and the combination causes the shaking. NASA officials hope to have a plan for fixing the design as early as March, and they do not expect it to delay the goal of returning astronauts to the moon by 2020.

6 comments:

Shaun said...

How much of an improvement, then, is the new rocket over the Saturn V? It is hard not to think that NASA are just re-inventing the same wheel from 40 yrs ago...time to consult with some of the original Apollo rocket engineers, perhaps?

Beam Me Up said...

My point exactly! Major step backwards and what do they keep from the system? the part that caused the most trouble! The damn SRB!!!! I dont know what this love affair is with NASA and the SRB system. Its caused a problem with vibration with only 2 on the shuttle and they want to strap 5 on now? Come ON! The S-V was a great work horse, but you know what....they didn't maintain the machinery, they used up the flight worthy lifters and put the rest out in a field for tourists to look at. They couldn't build a S-V now if they wanted to. There is a factory of re-usability here somewhere I suspect, but that hasn't been in play yet. but you know, there was a reason they went with liquid fuel over solid and not just because they were in love with Von Braun. It ws lower on vibration and with that stack it was a primary concern....they are just finding that out NOW? WTF???!!!

Shaun said...

I see we're on the same page... Paul, in all honesty, would NASA still have the plans and production capability to build the same Saturn Vs from the Apollo program? (i.e., without having to start all over again?)

After all, they lost so much video footage of the missions, so...

Paul said...

Oh I suspect the problem at NASA runs far deeper than lost footage. Using the SRB lift system and the design of the Aries moon flight stack shows a clear lack of foresight and imagination. The present stack looks like a cartoon version of the Apollo with some engineer saying...Well we know how reliable the Titan lifting platform is. If they are going to opt for something like this system at least go with a lifter that has some track records! Let the Russians come over with their Energia system which was designed to be completely reusable!

Anonymous said...

The Saturn V had the same type of problem, look up the Apollo 6 test flight which almost failed, they fixed it before putting men on top.

The Titan Gemini booster had similar problems, they were resolved also.

Beam Me Up said...

It's not so much a statement condemning the vibration is that as you put it, there were fixes in place for the Titan and Saturn that could prove to be informative and beneficial. The Apollo program stood on the shoulders of giants. Now it would almost seem that the wheel was in the process of being reinvented!