Orion experienced a successful environmental test at NASA’s Glenn Research Center’s Plum Brook Station after exposing the spacecraft to intense conditions, replicating environments during launch, deep space travel and the extreme hot and cold temperatures. As a result of an impeccable safety record, a pump solution from GoatThroat Pumps was selected for NASA’s critical environmental test and was one factor that contributed to its success.
As the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon, an interest and passion for deep-space travel has been reignited throughout the country. For the first time in a generation, NASA is building a human spacecraft for deep-space missions that will be the catalyst for a new space exploration. This spacecraft is called Orion. After many challenging missions that will take place over the course of several years, Orion is expected to go to the Moon and beyond.
The Orion Spacecraft
Orion is the primary spacecraft for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Beyond Earth Orbit (BEO). Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain astronauts during their missions and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. The Orion spacecraft consists of three primary sections:
- A Crew Module, which will carry the crew of up to four astronauts
- A Launch Abort System to provide emergency abort capability
- A Service Module, which is the powerhouse of the spacecraft as it provides in-space maneuvering capability, power from a 19-foot solar array, and other commodities necessary for life support, including water, oxygen and nitrogen.
The Orion Structural Test Article Environmental Test
Over several years, to ensure the safety of the crew and for a series of successful missions, thousands of tests will continue to be conducted on the different components of the Orion spacecraft. Taking place at the NASA Glenn Research Center’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, OH, the objective of the tests are to replicate a deep space environment and push the Service Module beyond its limits in order to evaluate its vulnerabilities, prior to a mission with astronauts on board.
Recently conducted environmental tests included exposing the Service Module to extreme vibrations and noise as well as pressures on fuel and oxidizer tanks, to simulate what is experienced during launch, travel and re-entry. Novec™ HFE7100 from 3M™ was selected as the best simulant liquid for the tank tests. Once the liquid was determined, NASA was then faced with the challenge of transferring the HFE7100 from 55-gallon drums to 350-gallon totes to perform multiple tests. The transfer needed to be completed within one afternoon and without contamination, spills, or injury to workers, which also required identifying a high-quality, commercial, off the shelf (COTS) pump and transfer system made with materials compatible with 3M’s Novec HFE7100.
With an impeccable safety record and a legacy of providing affordable solutions, GoatThroat Pumps exceeded all of these requirements, and was already a trusted partner of 3M since 2001. GoatThroat’s pumps, fittings and accessories are fluid specific, meet compatibility requirements, and are designed to be a complete turnkey solution, which made them the perfect fit for the Orion Service Module test. With an off the shelf solution for the environmental test, NASA was able to transfer approximately 1,500 gallons of Novec HFE7100 in less than 4 hours, with just one person operating two systems. The system was a no-nonsense, affordable solution that made dispensing liquids from large containers as easy as turning on a faucet.
About GoatThroat Pumps
Based in Milford, CT, GoatThroat Pumps, this WOSB (woman owned small business) develops and manufactures high-quality chemical transfer equipment, with a focus on improving worker safety and global environmental compliance. GoatThroat’s fluid friendly pumps are the safest, most reliable, and easiest way to accurately transfer any liquid. Off the shelf and custom configured pumps, fittings and accessories are fluid specific, meet compatibility requirements, and are designed to be turnkey solutions to fit any transfer application. Equipment categories include Chemical and Food Applications, Flammable Liquids, Agriculture, TRI Reporting and Pneumatic Systems.