Airborne Systems & ILC Dover Team on Airbag Landing and Flotation System for Orion Vehicle
FREDERICA, Del. - 30 January, 2008
Airborne Systems North America (ASNA) and ILC Dover LP have signed an agreement to work together on the Orion airbag landing and floatation system. A new study initiated by NASA is underway for a "singular" landing system that works for land and water landings and protects the Astronauts in contingency landing situations. ILC and Airborne have combined their engineering and analysis teams and their Orion Gen-2 airbag designs for the new study.
Testing is underway at NASA Langley Research Centre for the Gen-2 airbag systems produced at these companies prior to the teaming agreement. Results from these tests will be used to help select the best features of each design.
Peter Johnson, Vice President of Airborne Space and Recovery Systems commented "ILC and Airborne have unique strengths for design, analysis, and manufacture of landing systems. Together with NASA's and Lockheed Martin's Orion vehicle design team we provide a very strong technical team that will yield the optimal design solution."
The airbag team will be looking for design optimizations and mass savings in the singular landing study while NASA and Lockheed Martin are reassessing the entire landing architecture.
NASA has convened a landing tiger team for DAC-2 that will conduct evaluations and trades through February and reassess the nominal landing decision in early March this year. Their goal is "develop the best occupant protection system that maximizes crew safety during ascent, ascent aborts, landing, and post landing recovery" according to a landing system strategy published by John M. Curry, NASA Orion VI Block Manager, on January 7th. The strategy also indicates water landing is nominal and land landing is the contingency.
Bill Wallach, President of ILC Dover, commented, "This teaming agreement provides a better value to NASA not only because of the combined efforts, but the more open communications with everyone involved in the landing system. We look forward to collaborating with NASA, Lockheed, and ASNA to optimize the inflatable landing solution."