This Environmental Assessment addresses NASA's proposal to modify and operate Test Stand (TS) 4550 at George C. Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Alabama to conduct Integrated Vehicle Ground Vibration Testing (IVGVT) for the proposed Constellation Program. The Constellation Program is proposed to succeed the Space Shuttle Program which would be phased out by 2010. IVGVT would be conducted at TS 4550 to provide test data to support design certification review, launch, flight, and human-rating of the Ares I, also known as the Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV). The Ares I is an integrated, stacked vehicle that consists of two primary elements: a solid fueled First Stage Booster and a liquid fueled Upper Stage. The Ares I will carry to orbit the Orion payload, also known as the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV).
During preliminary planning, NASA evaluated constructing a new IVGVT test stand as a potential alternative to modifying TS 4550 to support the Constellation Program. TS 4550 is the only facility that has been used by NASA to conduct ground vibration testing of vertically-stacked, large launch vehicles; therefore, the modification of a different facility was not evaluated as a potential alternative to the Proposed Action.
The No-Action Alternative is to maintain existing conditions, i.e., not to modify or operate TS 4550 to conduct IVGVT for the Constellation Program. Under the No-Action Alternative, TS 4550 would remain inactive unless it is used in its current state to support the remainder of the Space Shuttle Program, for which it was last modified and operated.