Development of the Lightweight Mission Specialist Seats for the Space Shuttle Orbiter 971472

The Space Shuttle Lightweight Mission Specialist Seat (LWS-MS) is a crew seat used by mission specialists who fly aboard the Space Shuttle. A team of NASA and Lockheed-Martin engineers from the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, redesigned the MS seats and reduced the weight of the seats by 52%. In addition to weight reduction, the seats were designed to tolerate stringent load conditions, inspired by new FAA regulations requiring new seats to undergo dynamic testing and floor warping demonstrations. This paper describes the analysis methods used to predict the behavior of the seat. Detailed finite element models, developed using MSC/NASTRAN, and dynamic models using finite element and rigid-body information combined in a program called DADS, were used to accurately characterize the behavior of the seat before testing even began. This analysis technique led to significant weight reductions, as well as safety improvements in the seat.


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