Evaluation of Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor Recovery Data, A Lesson Learned for the Ares I Launch Vehicle
Safie, Fayssal; Weldon, Danny
The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is in the midst of a space exploration program called Constellation, intended for sending crew and cargo to the international Space Station (ISS), to the moon, and beyond. As part of the Constellation program, NASA is developing new launch vehicles called Ares I for crew and Ares V for cargo. The new launch vehicle designs seek to significantly increase safety and reliability, reduce the cost of accessing space, and provide a growth path for manned space exploration. Achieving these goals requires the launch vehicle projects to take advantage of major Space Shuttle safety and reliability lessons learned. This paper presents an assessment of the post-flight inspection data from the reusability of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor. The potential use of the findings in terms of lessons learned for the Ares I First Stage is also discussed. Specifically, the paper discusses the learning curves derived from the Shuttle experience regarding design and manufacturing of solid rocket boosters and the potential impact of loss of recovery data on flight risk. Additionally, this paper presents statistics on design and manufacturing deficiencies uncovered as a result of the post flight inspection data collected over the course the Shuttle program.