ERC’s Dennis M. Warren, a Technician in GSE Maintenance Precision Measurement & Alignment Instrumentation, was recognized for his contributions to the safe transportation of the Orion capsule from Naval Base San Diego to Kennedy Space Center in December 2014. Dennis, along with since-retired Bill Sturgeon, was responsible for control of environmental conditions inside the Crew Module Transportation Fixture (CMTF). The temperature and humidity had to be maintained 24 hours a day for the duration of the 11-day trip because the propellant had not been “scrubbed” from the hardware. (After Orion was recovered from the Pacific and installed into the CMTF, it was later off-loaded and cleaned at KSC.)
During the 2,700 mile cross-country trek home, external conditions varied from near freezing in the evening to desert-like during the day. Due to a pre-route approved by many of the state transportation departments for oversized loads, the road home was filled with unpaved roads and uneven terrain – which led to daily problems with the Cabin Purge Unit (CPU.) One instance caused the ductwork between the CPU and CMTF to break loose, but Dennis found a way to re-install and secure it real-time so conditions never strayed out-of-spec and the caravan remained on schedule.
ERC’s Mark O. Smith was awarded for his commitment to safety in the workplace, working beyond his normal work requirements, and contributing a major cost avoidance while increasing the safety, quality and efficiency to a major Space Launch System (SLS) milestone.
A Crawlers/Structures Electrical Engineer, Mark was instrumental to the safe and successful disassembly of the Crawler #2 gear boxes. Approximately 1,000 labor hours were used to remove the steering arm due to multiple bolt studs, which became bonded to the truck chassis due to 60 years of exposure to the elements. During the removal process, a great deal of manual labor was expended, which led to a minor incident involving a technician being struck by a sledge hammerhead that failed during use. As a result, Mark researched various stud removal tools and finally settled on the Thunderbolt 250 recoilless hammer. Mark conducted a site demonstration with the vendor (RME) and NASA, which revealed Thunderbolt 250’s true potential by removing 14 studs in two hours (previous manual methodology took three weeks). The resulting procurement will support the subsequent removal of the seven remaining steering arms.
Using previous manual methodology to remove the studs would yield approximately 2,240 labor hours or $123,000. The Thunderbolt 250 is expected to cost $35,000, resulting in a projected savings of $88,000 (cost avoidance) while also mitigating the safety hazards associated with the manual sledge hammer method.
Mark has also demonstrated similar actions to mitigate potential safety concerns, including researching alternate materials to be used for a potential slip/fall hazard on the crawler. He also volunteered to be the Point of Contact to train and certify TOSC personnel as a “Qualified Electrical Technician” and helped author the Qualified Electrical Technician operating procedure.