This Exploration Systems Project Office (MX) provides a path for bringing key exploration technologies to maturity from the laboratory environment through ground testing, and ultimately to flight testing. Initial demonstration projects are likely to focus on: high-power electric propulsion; autonomous precision landing; in-situ resource utilization (including lunar volatiles characterization); human- robotic systems (including operating robots from planetary orbit); and fission surface power systems. As the Program Office, GRC will coordinate and manage these activities across the nation.
The Exploration Systems Project Office (MX) manages the overall planning, formulation, implementation, and integration of projects and tasks assigned to Glenn Research Center by the Orion Program Office at the Johnson Space Center and the Space Launch System Program at the Marshall Space Flight Center. For the Orion Program the Office provides substantial support in the areas of the Crew Service Module, Requirements Integration Management, Assembly Test Launch Operations, Avionics Power and Software, and other tasks assigned by the Orion Program. Members of the Office and GRC hold key positions within the Orion Program including the Crew Service Module Office Deputy Manager.
The Space Launch System (SLS) activity at GRC is focused on the development of the Universal Stage Adapter (USA) for the Block 1B configuration of the SLS vehicle. GRC is supporting the development of a cargo version of the SLS Block 1B vehicle by providing the payload fairing concepts in support of the emerging cargo missions including the Europa mission that is currently in the early phase of concept development. Additionally GRC is developing the Developmental Flight Instrumentation (DFI) system planned for use on the early SLS flights including the EM 1mission planned for 2018.
The USA activities include the concept development through the Systems Requirements Review and the subsequent development and acquisition of the flight hardware for each of the manifested Block 1B Orion missions. The first of which, EM 2, is planned to fly in 2021.
The SLS payload fairing development activity involves conceptual design for the potential missions with a large emphasis on payload packaging and design requirements development.
The Office ensures success by promoting project management excellence and meeting commitments with quality spaceflight products that are on schedule and within budget. These two tenets align with GRC’s strategic goals to “Be Valued as a Leader in Space Flight Systems Development” and “Be Known for Excellence in Project Management”.