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could no longer satisfy NASA’s needs. The method offered minimal client engineering reviews and interaction and changing customer requirements represented a risk and obstacle to the schedule and rework. SAIC’s project team collaborated with NASA scientists and engineers to better identify the agency’s requirements and realize the concept. SAIC’s architects, engineers and constructors realigned their internal processes to give NASA engineers more insight into the details of the project design and construction. NASA was involved in the calculations performed to guide selection of materials and methods; every calculation was submitted, reviewed, corrected if necessary, and reviewed again for final approval before ordering, construction and installation. One of the project’s biggest achievements was successfully integrating the system engineering processes into a designbuild paradigm that met NASA’s technical and economic requirements. As with many projects, end-item specifications (EIS) changed to meet the needs of the user. NASA notified the project team that the VTC’s EIS were changing substantially in March 2009. Working closely with its NASA counterparts, the SAIC engineering team developed a revised program that would meet and exceed the new EIS in technical capabilities and performance, project scheduling and budget in just eight weeks. The program “reset” culminated in a series of meetings that took place at SAIC’s office in August 2009, in which each and every new EIS was jointly evaluated and approved. The changes resulted in a contractual modification prepared using the Alpha contracting process. The Alpha process requires concurrent participation by the contractor and the government in the preparation of contractual documents, including a detailed statement of the work and EIS, as well as preparation of the responding proposal and basis-of-estimate document. The resulting modifications sped the contract’s schedule and increased its value. spAceshIp IN A Bottle In addition to its other stringent technical specifications, the VTC facility needed to be built within an existing operating facility, requiring coordination to avoid impairment or interruption of ongoing operations. Similar to constructing a ship in a bottle, the VTC was built in an existing room, with all materials, equipment and personnel entering and exiting through a 14-foot-by-18-foot overhead door. The materials entering through this portal included 11 million pounds of concrete; 60-inch diameter, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) ductwork; and acoustical doors that measure 58 feet by 26 feet. In addition to constructing the VTC inside an existing facility, its long-term operation—designed for a minimum of 30 years—had to have no effect on the existing facility. SAIC performed extensive transmissibility analyses to verify this aspect of the completed design. the souND AND the fury The Reverberant Acoustic Test Facility simulates the varying conditions of liftoff, descent and mission abort that the newest generation of space-exploration vehicles will be required to endure. The RATF was designed to produce an overall sound-pressure level of 163 dB, which has never been previously achieved in a man-made setting, and the entire structure including walls, floors and ceilings is designed to handle a future acoustic level of 166 dB. As a point of reference, every 3 dB doubles effective sound levels, which means 163 dB is 128 times louder than a jet engine. The RATF generates the most acoustic energy for its size in the world. The project team designed and installed 36 horns and noise sources in one wall of the chamber. The noise-generation system emulates eight different spectra of sound (25, 35, 50, 80, 100, 160 and 250 hertz), each of which mimics a specific period of launch and/or re-entry. Multiple horns were required for each type of noise. All were customdesigned and custom-built of half-inch stainless steel with the exception of the 250-hertz horns, which were pre-manufactured using fiberglass. The MVF includes a depressed “pit” area that required the installation of more than 100 rock bolts that function like expansion anchors. The design and location of each rock bolt was completed within exacting tolerances. The normal tolerances specified for installation are a maximum of 3° over the length of the anchor; on this project, rock bolts were within a tolerance of 1°. The vibration systems and the vibration table to which test items will be attached surpassed the capabilities of all existing mechanical-vibration systems in the world today. EIS for the MVF indicated winter//2012 21

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IQ Winter 2012

IQ Winter 2012

IQ Winter 2012 - (Page Cover1)
IQ Winter 2012 - (Page Cover2)
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