Jared Leidich

Lockheed Martin Co, The Orbital Space Plane (OSP)

The Project:

Orbital Space Plane

Wikipedia [1]


From Wikipedia:


The Orbital Space Plane (OSP) program was a NASA concept designed to support the International Space Station requirements for crew rescue, crew transport and contingency cargo such as supplies, food and other needed equipment. No operable spaceplane was ever built.

With the initiation of the Constellation program in 2004, NASA transferred the knowledge gained on the OSP to the development of Crew Exploration Vehicle,[1] an Apollo-style capsule with separate crew and service modules

The initial plans for the International Space Station envisaged a small, low-cost 'Assured Crew Return Vehicle' (ACRV) which would provide emergency evacuation capability; the X-38 was the prototype of this. Following cancellation of the ACRV in 2002, the program led to the more capable Orbital Space Plane concept.

The first variant of the Orbital Space Plane was designed to serve as a crew rescue vehicle for the ISS; this replaced the previous plans for a dedicated station Crew Return Vehicle, which had been sidelined by budget cuts.

This early version of the plane had been expected to enter service by 2010.


1. Wikepedia Orbital Space Plane , March 25, 2011 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_Space_Plane_Program

My Role:

I was an unpaid intern working with the human factors engineering team. My direct supervisor was Senior Engineer Leslie J.A. Rogers who played a significant role in many of the US Manned Space Program's projects including the Iconic Manned Manuevering Unit (MMU) often seen in orbital astronaut photos. I learned a great deal as an aspiring space worker from Mrs. Rogers in-depth understanding of the program and the systems within it.

My initial role was to investigate and speculate the attenuation system proposed to be used for the seats inside the OSP for which an apollo era deformable waser system was anticipated. After passing the seat project off to another team I aided human factors engineer Bill Lytle on the creation of a wooden mock-up of the proposed OSP capsul which I populated with cardboard component representaitons. When the mock-was finished it was used for a human factors study where a team of US Astronauts put on space suits and went through some common routines to stress-test the geometries and configurations of the unit. Near the end of the study after the astronauts were finished I donned a full space suit and went through a couple simple routines inside the mock-up.