A new rocket engine test, a new deputy director at a NASA facility and the introduction of the latest version of an F-35 helmet were among the items of interest during the week for the Gulf Coast aerospace corridor.
Here's your week in review:
An RS-25 rocket engine had a 535-second test firing late in the week at NASA's South Mississippi rocket engine test facility. More than 1,200 people viewed the test at Stennis Space Center, according to a release by NASA.
One final test of this RS-25 developmental engine is planned in this series. Testing of the flight engines begins later this fall.
Four RS-25 engines along with boosters will power the first stage of NASA's Space Launch System, which will lift the Orion crew vehicle and astronauts on deep space missions in the future. The RS-25 is a modified version of the engines that powered the Space Shuttle. (Post)
If you are a regular reader of this column or the daily Gulf Coast news feed, you understand the significance of the SLS program for this region. The core stage and Orion capsule are fabricated in part at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. And the rocket engines are tested at SSC. It's a continuation of the roles the two facilities had since the start of the nation's space program in the 1960s.
Also at Stennis Space Center during the week, Randy Galloway was named deputy director, succeeding Jerry Cook, who will return to Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Galloway has served at several other NASA centers in key leadership roles.
In his previous position, Galloway was director of the Engineering and Test Directorate at SSC beginning in 2007. His successor there is John Bailey. Cook will serve in Huntsville as the Exploration Systems Development chief engineer and director of Cross-Program Systems Integration. (Post)
A new high-tech helmet for F-35 pilots is ready now. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, officials during the week commemorated the delivery of the first Gen III F-35 Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS).
Rockwell Collins, through its joint venture, Rockwell Collins ESA Vision Systems LLC, is providing the HMDS, which includes an improved night vision camera, improved liquid-crystal displays, automated alignment and software improvements is to be introduced to the fleet in low rate initial production Lot 7 in 2016.
The company also developed the Gen 2 helmet currently in use. Overall, Rockwell Collins has built and fit more than 200 helmets for F-35 pilots. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center and reprogramming lab. (Post)
SA Technical Services Inc., Niceville, Fla., Advanced Concepts Enterprises Inc., Shalimar, Fla., and Streamline Defense LLC, Tampa, Fla., were awarded a combined $45 million multiple-award contract for Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command. The contractor will provide systems engineering and technical assistance services at multiple locations both in the U.S. and overseas, and is expected to be complete by Aug. 11, 2020. Air Force Installation Contracting Agency and 765 Special Contracting Flight, Hurlburt Field, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Lockheed Martin Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $26 million modification to a previously awarded contract for the F-22 sustainment system. Work will be performed at Fort Worth and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2017. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity. F-22 pilots are trained at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.