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Space Launch System (SLS) Booster Element Support

DCI supports the MSFC Space Launch System Booster Element in multiple areas relative to the application and modification of heritage Shuttle Space Transportation System booster hardware for the SLS program.

  • Primary Structure and Component Development and Qualification Test Support  

o   Structural test load case selection and on-site test support was provided for the forward skirt structural test series. This testing was performed to determine the structural capability of the heritage Shuttle booster forward skirt and whether the hardware could sustain the SLS loads.  Forward skirt factor of safety methodology was also worked.

o   Avionics and Flight Separation System Battery development testing was supported to verify design concepts to increase the battery’s ability to withstand increased random vibration environments for SLS. Unique methods were developed to investigate battery problem areas and verify design modifications. Additional battery component development testing was supported to check the design modifications prior to full battery testing.

o   Load derivation and hardware production issues are being supported for the development of the SLS modified forward separation bolt.  Improvements to the heritage forward separation bolt data acquisition system have been worked. Test system checkout and forward separation bolt build procedures are being reviewed to ensure the modified forward separation bolt will be able to meet SLS requirements. This is one area where new Booster hardware is being manufactured.

o   Booster test and design requirements for the EPDM strut covers are being supported. Design requirements for SLS require modifications to the EPDM strut covers. Testing is required to verify the design requirements to ensure appropriate modifications are made to the hardware.

o   Booster Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) working various hardware issues that arise as heritage hardware is transitioned to SLS are being supported.

  • SLS Booster Loads

o   Level II Booster Element loads generated from the integrated vehicle design analysis cycles documented in the Booster Loads Databook are reviewed.

o   Updates to Booster data requested from the integrated vehicle loads analysis are checked and worked with Level II loads analysis personnel.

o   Booster Element developed random vibration component loads and methodologies are reviewed.

  • Booster Developed Finite Element Models and Analysis

o   Booster Element dynamic math models prepared for the integrated vehicle coupled loads analysis are checked

o   Booster segment models for stacking analyses were prepared and checked

o   Operational loads during vehicle assembly are developed. An example are the loads required to pull the boosters apart prior to mating Core with the boosters.

  • Interface Joint Analysis

o   Analysis performed to determine loads for forward attach components are reviewed

o   Design issues for the aft attach components are worked. The SLS vehicle has expanded design requirements for the aft attach compared to Shuttle. Strut articulation, joint freeplay, and EPDM strut cover issues are being supported.

o   Loads and stability analysis for the Booster interface with the Mobile Launcher Vehicle Support Posts are performed.


Forward Skirt Structural Test


Booster Forward Separation Bolt


Booster Segment Lifting


Booster Segment Finite Element Model


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