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What’s it like to be a small part of the Orion Spacecraft’s mission? Engineers at Tec Inc. know!

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

Everyone has that moment in life in which you see a celebrity or athlete on TV and dream about doing something great like that one day. But how does one person in Northeast Ohio contribute to anything that is history making?

There are some very exciting things occuring in Ohio that are linked to the deep space exploration and the Orion Spacecraft. If you’ve been paying attention, you may have seen the news surrounding the potential for space travel that is quickly developing in Florida and Houston. You may have even seen the news of testing at Plum Brook Station in Ohio. But what does this have to do with our 30 person engineering consulting firm you ask?

We’ve realized the American dream at our engineering firm in Eastlake, Ohio and contributed in small part to this historic undertaking of making deep space exploration possible. A few years ago, Tec conducted an assessment and studied the suitability of NASA Plum Brook’s test chamber for the testing the rocket engine and fuel source for the Orion spacecraft.

This could be viewed by some as insignificant and many may have passed on the opportunity. Consider for a moment the minute details of each mission that must be perfected and the rigorous testing that NASA completes before the investment of the American people moves onto the next steps of launching people into space. Providing a report to NASA to determine what upgrades to make to the testing facility in Ohio can have a great impact on the success of that mission.

In our assessment at Plum Brook Tec Inc. identified the existing building non-compliance items as well as the mechanical and electrical systems within the facility that would prevent the testing of the Orion spacecraft. Furthermore, the study identified corrective actions for NASA to upgrade the facility in preparation of testing. This included:

Changing the use group of the testing chamber to H-3 with corresponding fire rating improvements to the surrounding walls and doors.

Additional high and low level exhaust ventilation added to the testing chamber and vibratory pit area.

The addition of a combustible gas detection system added within the pit area and electrical equipment seal off fittings to properly comply with the hazardous location boundaries.

So while many of us go to college and dream of accomplishing something great like space exploration, it is very possible to be a significant contributor to this reality. Engineers at Tec Inc. did that!

Read more about the Orion project on NASA’s website.

“In addition to the progress of the SLS rocket in 2019, NASA and its partners completed production of NASA’s Orion spacecraft. The spacecraft is undergoing final testing at NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Ohio. NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems at Kennedy has verified the launch pad’s infrastructure and sound suppression system for the first Artemis launch. Kennedy’s launch team held its first formal training simulation, while flight controllers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston conducted a similar simulation training for Orion’s uncrewed flight to the Moon.”

“This four-month test campaign will subject the spacecraft, consisting of its crew module and European-built service module, to the vacuum, extreme temperatures and electromagnetic environment it will experience during the three-week journey around the Moon and back. The goal of testing is to confirm the spacecraft’s components and systems work properly under in-space conditions, while gathering data to ensure the spacecraft is fit for all subsequent Artemis missions to the Moon and beyond.”

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