Successful hot firing tests for Orion

Since 2017 the PQM is already located in White Sands. The development of the test procedures, the hot run tests and the subsequent evaluations are time-consuming. “We have to carry out many different tests here, depending on the mission scenario,” explains Jan Hass, test manager for the Airbus team.

“Main engine, auxiliary engines and attitude control engines are needed and controlled in different situations. In July, we qualified propulsion subsystems, for which all engines were ignited in several situations. In August, we tested the main engine and ran it together with the auxiliary engines for more than 10 minutes. In doing so, we simulated the launch into Earth orbit following a mission abort.”

“The design and structural implementation of the propulsion system are very challenging tasks,” explains Mathias Gronowski, Chief Engineer in the Orion ESM Program. “It’s not just a matter of functionality, but also of ensuring that all other subsystems are safe when the engines are on fire. Given the packing density of the service module, these are really tricky situations for our designers. The engines of the service module are needed on the journey to the moon only in certain situations, but exactly then everything must be right, pressure, impulse etc….   Furthermore, the interfaces with the crew module have to be considered.”

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