How do aerospace engineers perform quality assurance for rockets?


How do aerospace engineers perform quality assurance for rockets?

In: Engineering

They test samples

Almost all liquid fueled engines are test fired on a test stand before being integrated into the big rocket. This way you know that all the plumbing and pumps in the engine are good to go.

The tank needs to be pressure tested, generally this would be done on early samples to confirm what the simulations said. This would be an early design validation bit for the most part and not redone on every new tank once you’ve confirmed it works.

They also have the ability to abort right at the beginning if something is wrong.

The liquid fueled engines of the rocket generally start 1-3 seconds before launch and the rocket is held down by big clamps. If any of the engines don’t seem quite right (not enough thrust, too much thrust, too hot, etc) then they’ll cut the engines and abort the launch. There’s no way to abort a solid rocket motor so once those boosters start up its going and there’s nothing you can do.

On the upside, solid rocket motors are dumb simple so a reliable manufacturing process pretty well avoids issues for them which is why the military uses them so often as they can sit around for years and then just GO with minimal prep work

Several ways. During the design phase, the design is subjected to computer simulations of things like launch loads (intense vibration) as well as thermal loads (the cold and heat of space). The survivability is then checked with testing by shaking or cooling/heating the hardware as well and checked for functionality after test. Parts are checked for critical dimensions and tolerances. All of this is checked and double checked throughout the design and build process. Design reviews are conducted several times where top level managers review and critique the process. And if a particular component is novel and has no history of prior use, component level tests are ordered.