4 months ago

More milestones for Alabama-managed SLS — ‘Backbone for deep space transportation’

The Space Launch System (SLS), set to be the world’s most powerful rocket ever, has achieved more major assembly milestones in recent days.

On Thursday, NASA engineers at the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, along with Boeing technicians, connected the last of the five sections of the SLS rocket core stage. This marked the finalization of assembling and joining the rocket’s main structural components.

On SLS’s first flight, the core stage will produce 2 million pounds of thrust to send Artemis I and NASA’s Orion spacecraft to the Moon.

The historically powerful SLS is managed at Huntsville’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

In a statement, NASA SLS stages manager Julie Bassler said, “NASA has achieved a historic first milestone by completing the final join of the core stage structure for NASA’s Space Launch System, the world’s most powerful rocket.”

“Now, to complete the stage, NASA will add the four RS-25 engines and complete the final integrated avionics and propulsion functional tests. This is an exciting time as we finish the first-time production of the complex core stage that will provide the power to send the Artemis I mission to the Moon,” she advised.

Artemis will take man back to the Moon and the first woman to the surface of the Moon. The program is currently on schedule for a 2024 lunar mission and hopes to set the stage for future human travel to Mars.

SLS is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts and supplies to the Moon in a single mission.

This fall, NASA will work with core stage lead contractor, Boeing, and the RS-25 engine lead contractor, Aerojet Rocketdyne, to attach the four RS-25 engines and connect them to the main propulsion systems inside the engine section, which was the last section of the core stage to be attached.

“Boeing expects to complete final assembly of the Artemis I core stage in December,” explained Jennifer Boland-Masterson, Boeing operations direct at Michoud.

The SLS team also achieved another recent milestone by completing structural testing for the stage’s liquid hydrogen tank. The testing confirmed that the structural design for the tank on the rocket’s initial configuration, called Block 1, can withstand extreme conditions during launch and flight.

Teams at Marshall Space Flight Center put a test version of the tank through the paces during 37 separate test cases that exceeded what engineers expect the SLS rocket to experience. The final test used 80,000 gallons of liquid nitrogen to simulate the cryogenic conditions, or extreme cold, that the liquid hydrogen tank will experience in flight, according to NASA.

Testing will continue later this year to show the tank’s structural design is adequate for future designs of the vehicle as it evolves to a Block IB configuration and missions with even greater forces.

In addition to providing propellant and power to get the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft to space, the core stage houses the flight computers and avionics components that control the first 8 minutes of flight.

The avionics system, including the flight computers, completed integrated system level qualification testing showing the components all work together to control the rocket in the Software Integration and Test Facility (SITF) at Marshall. The next step is to test the flight software with all the ground system software, Orion and launch control in the Systems Integration Laboratory at Marshall.

“NASA and our contractor teams are making tremendous progress on every aspect of manufacturing, assembling and testing the complex systems needed to land American astronauts on the lunar surface by 2024,” Bassler concluded. “I am confident this hard work will result in a rocket that can provide the backbone for deep space transportation to the Moon and ultimately to Mars.”

Read more here.

North Alabama also will play a leading role in other components of Artemis, including with the lunar Gateway and the new Human Landing System. Historic contributions to America’s space prowess are being made by several private sector partners in the Yellowhammer State, such as United Launch Alliance (ULA), Boeing and Dynetics.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

10 mins ago

Steve Marshall travels to D.C. to urge Senate to reject Trump impeachment articles

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Wednesday traveled to Washington, D.C. to file a blistering 14-page “friend of the Senate” letter urging the upper chamber to reject the two articles of impeachment filed against President Donald J. Trump.

The Senate on Tuesday began the impeachment trial of Trumps, and Marshall joined 20 of his Republican attorneys general from across the nation in signing the letter.

However, Marshall was only one of six of the attorneys general invited to the U.S. Capitol to attend a press conference Wednesday commenting on their letter and the impeachment trial.

Of the letter, Marshall remarked, “It is thorough. It is a full examination of both the facts and the law that the Senate has to apply. But despite that significant analysis, fundamentally what that letter is about is the idea of fairness — or maybe better said, the lack of fairness.”

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“As a prosecutor for 20 years, what I’ve seen is an unfair process brings about an unjust result,” Marshall advised. “And that is what the Senate now has an opportunity to stop.”

“I also find it remarkable, as somebody who has stood before juries and judges, whose brought charging instruments against defendants, to now hear the House say that they are not prepared. And that they are not ready. What that simply shows is not that they are not prepared but that they have no case,” he continued. “Our letter demonstrates the various reasons why the Senate should reject this effort, and we need to return the president back to the work of this country…”

Watch:

In a tweet referencing the letter, Marshall called the articles of impeachment passed by House Democrats against Trump “unfounded and fundamentally flawed.”

The letter states, “If not expressly repudiated by the Senate, the theories animating both Articles will set a precedent that is entirely contrary to the Framers’ design and ruinous to the most important governmental structure protections contained in our Constitution: the separation of powers.”

Read the letter below:

State AG letter to Senate o… by Fox News on Scribd

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

30 mins ago

Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele inks three-year extension

Auburn University head football coach Gus Malzahn on Wednesday announced that defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has officially agreed to a new three-year contract that will take him through the 2022 season.

In a statement, Malzahn said, “Kevin has done a fantastic job with our defense the last four years making it one of the best in the country.”

“This will provide great stability and leadership for our defense in the future. I’m appreciative of Kevin’s hard work,” he added.

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Steele has been Auburn’s defensive coordinator for the last four years. During that tenure, the Tigers’ defense has ranked in the top 20 nationally in scoring defense. Additionally, Auburn is one of only five FBS programs to hold opponents under 20 points per game in each of those seasons.

Malzahn and Steele were both spotted at Senior Bowl Week practice in Mobile on Tuesday.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

God almighty, take the vote and get it over with

During the impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton for perjury, which he totally and obviously committed, an unemployed carpenter from Wisconsin rose from the gallery and demanded the U.S. Senate get the show on the road.

“God almighty, take the vote and get it over with!” Richard Douglas Llamas bellowed to the assembled members of Congress, telling them to do their job of holding their vote and moving on with America’s business.

He ended up spending 24 hours in jail for his outburst and was ordered to stay away from the impeachment hearings.

The media referred to him as “the voice of the people” and a “hero.”

Would they treat him as one today?

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Absolutely not. They would destroy his career and life. They would call him racist, comb through his social media and seek a way to connect him to the Russians.

But, make no mistake, this man would be a hero.

It doesn’t matter how many hours they spend on this farce, how many people watch or how outraged the media and their Democrats get over it, there will be no minds changed and President Donald Trump will still be the president when this is over.

Congress needs to hold their stupid show vote, fail to get their two-thirds votes and get on with the people’s business.

Where is our Richard Douglas Llamas?

America needs a hero like him right now.

Watch media coverage of this outburst (42 second mark):

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

1 hour ago

Jerry Carl releases first TV ad in AL-01 GOP primary, significant buy forthcoming

MOBILE — The race to succeed Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) in Coastal Alabama is heating up.

Yellowhammer News on Wednesday obtained Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl’s first television ad of the cycle.

Entitled, “Just Jerry,” the video ad utilizes an off-screen narrator throughout its 30 seconds of run time.

Transcript as follows:

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Raised by a single mother, Jerry Carl headed to college but left to start a business. Then another. And another.

He married and raised a family and was saved by grace.

A tough upbringing and business struggles made Jerry the man he is.

Like President Trump, Jerry Carl’s got a backbone. He’s tired of political correctness and will fight ‘The Squad.’

He’s never the loudest, but he’s the toughest.

He’s just Jerry.

A source directly familiar informed Yellowhammer that the ad buy will be “substantial,” falling “well into the six figure range.”

The ad will run across several standard mediums in the district, including both cable and broadcast television, as well as digital. The buy is expected to last 10 days.

Carl has built a significant cash advantage in the race, both through money raised and money he has loaned to his own campaign. As of the end of the third quarter of 2019, Carl had $741,307 cash-on-hand. This compared favorably to the other top contenders in Alabama’s First Congressional District. Former State Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) had $447,611 on hand, while State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) reported $215,437 available. Fundraising reports covering the final quarter of 2019 are due January 31.

Watch:

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Carl campaign manager Zach Weidlich said, “Jerry Carl was raised by a single mother and that upbringing made him the man he is today. He’s built several businesses by relying on his Christian faith and rolling up his sleeves and getting down to work.”

“Like Trump, Jerry is tough, he has a backbone, and he won’t back down to political correctness. If south Alabama wants someone who will protect our values and stand with Trump, Jerry Carl is their guy,” he concluded.

The primary will be held on March 3.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 hours ago

UAB, St. Vincent’s enter into ‘strategic alliance’ to better serve patients

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Health System is entering into a partnership with its across-town neighbor Ascension St. Vincent’s to provide better outcomes for patients. The two hospital systems announced the news jointly via a press release on Wednesday.

Details are still scarce as to the particularities of what this will mean for patients, and the deal is still pending approval from the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees.

The information available indicates that patients at one institution will have access to some services and doctors at the other without the normal amount of red tape in between. The two hospitals are touting the alliance’s ability to open up opportunities for “those who need highly specialized care.”

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“Through closer alignment of each organization’s many locations, specialties and expertise, the health systems will strive to better accommodate patients,” said UAB Health System CEO Will Ferniany.

According to the website set up to inform the public about the alliance, the two hospitals’ medical records will stay separate, and no doctor will be changing locations as part of the new alliance.

“Ascension St. Vincent’s and the UAB Health System have a longstanding, very positive relationship,” said Jason Alexander, CEO, Ascension St. Vincent’s and Ascension Providence, and senior vice president, Ascension. “We look forward to continuing to build on the complementary strengths of both organizations to serve the increasing needs of residents across our state.

As follows are the facilities that will be a part of the alliance: 

UABHS:

UAB Hospital
University of Alabama Health Services Foundation
Medical West Hospital
Callahan Eye Hospital, Clinics and Ophthalmology Services Foundation
Gardendale Freestanding Emergency Department (FED) and Clinics
Highway 150 Clinics and Medical West Freestanding Emergency Department
Acton Road
Primary Care Network

Ascension St. Vincent’s:

Ascension St. Vincent’s Birmingham
Ascension St. Vincent’s East
Ascension St. Vincent’s One Nineteen
Ascension St. Vincent’s St. Clair
Ascension St. Vincent’s Chilton
Ascension St. Vincent’s Blount
Ascension St. Vincent’s Trussville
Ascension St. Vincent’s Medical Group

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.