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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Update for Feb 22 2011

Gantt chart (project schedule using bars to represent time allotted for tasks)

The figure above shows the teams current project schedule in the form of a Gantt chart.  As of today, we are on schedule.  Here is an update on what the team has been doing, prepared by team member Casey Ross (Civil):

"Currently, two of the civil engineering students (Mike and Whitney) are experimenting with modeling the pallet in SAP2000.  This is a program used to find stress and strain in frames and other structural elements.  The goal is to finalize the modeling in ALGOR.  According to the NASA officials the team met with last Tuesday (February 15), the preferred materials for fabrication are aluminum and steel.  Because there is not much room to work with, the team decided that aluminum would be the best option due to its lightweight nature when compared to steel.  Aluminum 6061-T6 is the most commonly available heat treatable aluminum alloy.  It is used in the “manufacture of heavy-duty structures requiring good corrosion resistance, truck and marine components, railroad cars, furniture, tank fittings, general structural and high pressure applications, wire products, and in pipelines” [1].  Aluminum 6061-T6 is very easy to weld with and can be welded according to all standard welding techniques.  It can also be easily worked and formed.   Its mechanical properties include a tensile yield strength of 40 ksi, an ultimate tensile strength of 45 ksi, a modulus of elasticity of 10 ksi, and a shear strength of 30 ksi [2]."

The team leader, James Tubb, created the WBS (work breakdown structure) shown below to clarify who is responsible for overseeing various aspects of the project. This is the latest version.

WBS for NASA Orion Project.

[1]      "Material Properties Data: Aluminum 6061." Metal Suppliers Online. 22 Feb 2011. Web. 22 Feb 2011. <>.
[2]      "Aluminum 6061-T6." Aerospace Specification Metals, Inc. MatWeb, LLC, 22 Feb 2011. Web. 22 Feb 2011. <>.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Analysis Update -- Lockheed Martin Design Imported into ALGOR

The design by Lockheed Martin for the pallet and struts has been imported into ALGOR so we can get an idea of how the system reacts to loadings.  NASA sent us an STEP file generated by ProE and it was loaded into ALGOR just this morning.  Notice how the pallet would be suspended from the hull (it is flipped sideways in this image . . . the X axis as shown would be pointing upward toward the top of the capsule.  You can see the brackets where the astronauts' seats attach to the pallet -- this is designed to hold four astronauts.

Here is the bottom view of the current design.  Our design will focus on a simpler cross section, ease of manufacture, and ease of assembly INSIDE the capsule.

Note the connections!

View from the bottom looking up to the top of the capsule.

Friday, February 18, 2011

What is Orion?

Check out this informational brochure on the Orion project:

Here is a ProE drawing of the capsule (provided to us by NASA):

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Brook Hill School

Brook Hill is one of the local high schools that is also participating in developing the medium fidelity mock up for the Orion as part of the Students Shaping America's Next Spacecraft project.  Here is a link to the article in the Tyler Morning Telegraph: 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

UT Tyler NASA Orion Team Blasts Off

Welcome to the Blog for the UT Tyler-NASA Orion project.  Our mission is to develop the pallet and strut system for the Orion capsule medium fidelity mockup.

The medium fidelty mockup will be even more realistic!

Our focus will be the pallets and struts -- the astronauts' seats attach to the pallet, which is suspended from the sides and forward bulkhead.  Here is what Lockheed Martin designed for the capsule when it goes into space:

Our design will maintain the functionality and may be similar in appearance, but our challenges are different:  is must support a load of about 1800 lbs, with a factor of safety of 3.  Our design must be fit through the same opening the astronauts enter the capsule through . . . and then be assembled inside.  It must be manufactured in a short time.