A University of Central Florida study aims to reduce the time it takes to prepare the space shuttle for a launch after an attempt has been scrubbed.

United Space Alliance, NASA’s prime space shuttle contractor, awarded UCF a contract to optimize the assembly steps necessary for the integration of the space shuttle to the launch structure. To accomplish that goal, the UCF team built replicas of the sealing interface in the shuttle’s external fuel tank’s gaseous hydrogen vent line and is studying how the materials behave in different assembly scenarios.

Several UCF graduate students and undergraduates are working with Ali P. Gordon, an assistant professor of Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace Engineering, and Kent Williams, an associate professor of Industrial Engineering & Management Systems. The team began testing the devices in January and expects to share results in the spring.

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