NASA Constellation have approved the Rollercoaster Escape System to be used as the Emergency Egress Systems (EES) for astronauts and pad crew to race away from the Ares I pad, should an emergency be called.The Rollercoaster system led the September trade study as the preferred option, and will now be offered as a contract to potential vendors.
Irvin Aerospace, the world’s first parachute engineering, design and manufacturing company founded in 1919, was selected by Jacobs Sverdrup for NASA to develop parachutes for NASA’s Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). Following the space shuttles retirement in 2010, NASA plans to replace the aging shuttle fleet with a number of reusable Orion spacecraft. Orion is expected to carry crew members to the International Space Station, the Moon and beyond.
Working with an integrated product team (IPT) that includes NASA, Jacobs Sverdrup, and engineers from Irvin Aerospace, the design team will develop a CEV Parachute Assembly System (CPAS) which is scheduled to begin testing in approximately 6 months.
“We are extremely pleased with the opportunity to work with Jacobs and NASA,” said Dave Berry, President of Irvin Aerospace. “Our company is very proud to be selected and we will focus our energies on working together in support of our Nation’s Space Program.”
Irvin is also working with NASA’s Langley Research Center to explore the suitability of a Landing Airbag System for the final landing attenuation for the Orion spacecraft. Irvin was recently awarded a development contract from Rocketplane Kistler under NASA’s recent Commercial Orbital Transpiration Services (COTS) program to complete the development of the RpK K-1 vehicle to provide commercial cargo deliver and eventually crew delivery services to the International Space Station.
The Orion contract award will add 10-15 engineering positions at Irvin’s Santa Ana, California headquarters as well as a number of high skilled manufacturing positions. In addition, the RpK COTS award is expected to provide a similar number of engineering and manufacturing jobs.