Orion Flight Model Hardware (Current)

Faculty Contact: Jonathan How (Email)

Motivation for Orion and Status of the hardware development (900K PDF file)
Orion MIT Home Page with further information here
Orion EM hardware (as of March 2001) and (as of Jan 2001)
Orion Design Team

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Artist's impression of the Orion-Emerald formation flying experiment

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These pictures show the primary parts of the flight model propulsion plumbing. The figures show:
  • One propulsion tank, but there are a total of three - with
    enough gas can be stored for multiple experiments.
  • Propulsion electronics green board - top left
  • Note that this has changed after the phase 0/1 safety review
  • Two (2) regulators (running across the top of the figure on the right) and 2 pressure relief valves after the regulators (with red trim). This configuration is the result of a design modification, due to concerns raised at the Phase 0/1 safety review.
  • LP plumbing across the bottom.
  • One of the thruster clusters at the top
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Tank, Spacequest computer (fore) GPS (right) & science computer (left)
  • Other hardware views showing the electronics, more propulsion tanks and the aluminum battery box
  • Dimensions: 17.5" cube, weight: ~77 lbs
  • Composed of:
    • 5052 Aluminum Honeycomb Panels
    • CRES 303 Inserts, 7075T73 and 6061T6 L brackets,
      10-32 A286 fasteners
    • 120 Hz natural frequency verified by sine sweep and finite element model
    • Designed to withstand structural testing at 13.75 G's
      simultaneously in all axes, within an operating temperature range between -20C and 30C
  • Complete Pro-E model for reference and stress analysis.
  • Flight materials are in-hand and ready to be cut upon approval of construction procedures.
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Tank and propulsion electronics
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Power electronics (right), battery box (middle) & communication boards slots (left)
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  • Current configuration of the Orion GPS receiver (more details)
  • The 2 receiver boards (three will be used for the flight model)
    are stacked on top of the lower board that is used for the communication.
  • This board has been extensively tested on the ground and with a signal generator.
  • The receiver is tightly integrated with the science computer
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  • One of the GPS antennas which are mounted to the top and side panels
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  • Close up of one thruster cluster. LP plumbing enters manifold (solid Aluminum) from below.
  • Three thruster solenoids are attached to the manifold (hang down vertically) with blue wiring attached that will be routed to the thruster controller board.
  • Holes are made in the manifold for the thruster nozzles which are then threaded into place from the outside.
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  • Fill port for the fuel on the top panel. The lifting mechanism (see below) is in place.
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  • The lifting mechanism for Orion shown in-place attached to the top plate. This provides a single lift point for the entire vehicle.
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Orion team (Brian, Nicole, Brett, Jin) working on the flight
model in the SSDL clean room

November 25, 2002