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posted by chromas on Thursday March 18 2021, @03:22PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the will-it-go-well-or-will-it-go-BOOM? dept.

NASA’s Massive Artemis Moon Rocket Set for Second Hot Fire Test – Watch Live Coverage Today:

NASA is targeting a two-hour test window that opens at 3 p.m. EDT Thursday, March 18, for the second hot fire test of the core stage for the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

The agency plans to begin live coverage on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app approximately 30 minutes before the hot fire. The team will refine the timeline as it proceeds through operations. NASA will provide updates on the operations and the target hot fire time at @NASA and the Artemis blog.

[...] A post-test briefing will follow on NASA Television approximately two hours after the test.

Previously:
Green Run Update: NASA Proceeds with Plans for Second Hot Fire Test
After a Decade, NASA’s Big Rocket Fails its First Real Test
NASA TV to Air Hot Fire Test of Rocket Core Stage for Artemis Missions


Original Submission

Related Stories

NASA TV to Air Hot Fire Test of Rocket Core Stage for Artemis Missions 7 comments

NASA TV to Air Hot Fire Test of Rocket Core Stage for Artemis Missions:

NASA is targeting a two-hour test window that opens at 5 p.m. EST Saturday, Jan. 16, for the hot fire test of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage at the agency's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Live coverage will begin at 4:20 p.m. on NASA Television and the agency's website, followed by a post-test briefing approximately two hours after the test concludes.

Media may submit questions during the post-test briefing by emailing hq-heo-pao@mail.nasa.gov.

The hot fire is the eighth and final test of the Green Run series to ensure the core stage of the SLS rocket is ready to launch Artemis missions to the Moon, beginning with Artemis I. The core stage includes the liquid hydrogen tank and liquid oxygen tank, four RS-25 engines, and the computers, electronics, and avionics that serve as the "brains" of the rocket. During the test, engineers will power up all the core stage systems, load more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic, or supercold, propellant into the tanks, and fire all four engines at the same time to simulate the stage's operation during launch, generating 1.6 million pounds of thrust.

The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I will test the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft as an integrated system ahead of crewed flights to the Moon. Under the Artemis program, NASA is working to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon in 2024.

Will it go BOOM?


Original Submission

After a Decade, NASA’s Big Rocket Fails its First Real Test 44 comments

After a decade, NASA's big rocket fails its first real test:

For a few moments, it seemed like the Space Launch System saga might have a happy ending. Beneath brilliant blue skies late on Saturday afternoon, NASA's huge rocket roared to life for the very first time. As its four engines lit, and thrummed, thunder rumbled across these Mississippi lowlands. A giant, beautiful plume of white exhaust billowed away from the test stand.

It was all pretty damn glorious until it stopped suddenly.

About 50 seconds into what was supposed to be an 8-minute test firing, the flight control center called out, "We did get an MCF on Engine 4." This means there was a "major component failure" with the fourth engine on the vehicle. After a total of about 67 seconds, the hot fire test ended.

During a post-flight news conference, held outside near the test stand, officials offered few details about what had gone wrong. "We don't know what we don't know," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "It's not everything we hoped it would be."

He and NASA's program manager for the SLS rocket, John Honeycutt, sought to put a positive spin on the day. They explained that this is why spaceflight hardware is tested. They expressed confidence that this was still the rocket that would launch the Orion spacecraft around the Moon.

And yet it is difficult to say what happened Saturday is anything but a bitter disappointment. This rocket core stage was moved to Stennis from its factory in nearby Louisiana more than one calendar year ago, with months of preparations for this critical test firing.

Honeycutt said before the test, and then again afterward, that NASA had been hoping to get 250 seconds worth of data, if not fire the rocket for the entire duration of its nominal ascent to space. Instead it got a quarter of that.


Original Submission

Green Run Update: NASA Proceeds with Plans for Second Hot Fire Test 8 comments

Green Run Update: NASA Proceeds With Plans for Second Hot Fire Test – Artemis:

NASA plans to conduct a second Green Run hot fire test as early as the fourth week in February with the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket's core stage that will launch the Artemis I mission to the Moon. The Green Run is a comprehensive assessment of the rocket's core stage prior to launching Artemis missions.

While the first hot fire test marked a major milestone for the program with the firing of all four RS-25 engines together for the first time for about a minute, it ended earlier than planned. After evaluating data from the first hot fire and the prior seven Green Run tests, NASA and core stage lead contractor Boeing determined that a second, longer hot fire test should be conducted and would pose minimal risk to the Artemis I core stage while providing valuable data to help certify the core stage for flight.

Inspections showed the core stage hardware, including its engines, and the B-2 test stand are in excellent condition after the first hot fire test, and no major repairs are needed to prepare for a second hot fire test at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

[...] After the second hot fire test, it will take about a month to refurbish the core stage and its engines. Then, the Pegasus barge will transport the core stage to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida where it will be assembled with the other parts of the SLS rocket and the Orion spacecraft being prepared for the Artemis I launch later this year.


Original Submission

NASA Wants to Buy SLS Rockets at Half Price, Fly Them Into the 2050s 27 comments

NASA wants to buy SLS rockets at half price, fly them into the 2050s

NASA has asked the US aerospace industry how it would go about "maximizing the long-term efficiency and sustainability" of the Space Launch System rocket and its associated ground systems.

[...] In its request NASA says it would like to fly the SLS rocket for "30 years or more" as a national capability. Moreover, the agency wants the rocket to become a "sustainable and affordable system for moving humans and large cargo payloads to cislunar and deep-space destinations."

[...] Among the rocket's chief architects was then-Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who steered billions of dollars to Kennedy Space Center in his home state for upgraded ground systems equipment to support the rocket. Back in 2011, he proudly said the rocket would be delivered on time and on budget.

"This rocket is coming in at the cost of... not only what we estimated in the NASA Authorization act, but less," Nelson said at the time. "The cost of the rocket over a five- to six-year period in the NASA authorization bill was to be no more than $11.5 billion. This costs $10 billion for the rocket." Later, he went further, saying, "If we can't do a rocket for $11.5 billion, we ought to close up shop."

After more than 10 years, and more than $30 billion spent on the rocket and its ground systems, NASA has not closed up shop. Rather, Nelson has ascended to become the space agency's administrator.

Previously:


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Socrastotle on Thursday March 18 2021, @03:32PM (11 children)

    by Socrastotle (13446) on Thursday March 18 2021, @03:32PM (#1125804) Journal

    Can somebody enlighten me here. Windows for launches make perfect sense. High altitude cross winds are unpredictable and launching into these conditions can be dangerous. And so you have a window of time where you still have enough fuel to hit your destination, and you simply hope for acceptable wind conditions within that window. But a static fire is simply firing the engines. So I don't understand the notion of a window for this.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by takyon on Thursday March 18 2021, @03:51PM (6 children)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday March 18 2021, @03:51PM (#1125812) Journal

      SpaceX has test windows for Starship static fires. They have to close roads and evacuate the area.

      If we accept that NASA must at least target a specific time for the static fire, having a window gives them some more flexibility to check for problems and restart the countdown if needed (you can find instances of a SpaceX rocket's computer(s) aborting during a launch/test window, with another attempt later in the window).

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      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday March 18 2021, @04:10PM (1 child)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 18 2021, @04:10PM (#1125819) Journal

        (you can find instances of a SpaceX rocket's computer(s) aborting during a launch/test window, with another attempt later in the window).

        Didn't that very thing happen with the recent SN 10 test fright?

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        Calmly vote. Fill out your ballet and drop it in the ballet box. Don't dance around bothering the pole watchers.
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Thursday March 18 2021, @04:39PM

          by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday March 18 2021, @04:39PM (#1125830) Journal

          Yes:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starship_development_history#Starship_SN10 [wikipedia.org]

          Two launch attempts were conducted on 3 March. The first launch attempt at 20:14 UTC was automatically aborted after a single Raptor engine produced too much thrust while throttling up. The expected launch was delayed by 3 hours after increasing the tolerance. The day's second attempt resulted in a successful launch with ascent, engine cutoffs, flip maneuver, descent, flap control, and landing burn.

          Also, SN9 had three static fire tests within the same window on January 13, which may have been an impromptu decision.

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      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @11:12PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @11:12PM (#1126015)

        This is the delayed second test for their failed test back in February. Arranging for a second test in the same month seems to be a stretch for Boeing, let alone in the same test window. And people wonder why SLS is half a decade late.

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday March 18 2021, @11:21PM (1 child)

          by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday March 18 2021, @11:21PM (#1126024) Journal

          I was hoping for an explosion this time.

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          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @11:56PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @11:56PM (#1126056)

            An explosion now would leave a (theoretically) functional Orion capsule and ESM, worth about $1 billion each and potentially launchable using ULA's Vulcan. No, I'm expecting the big fireworks to happen during launch when it will be the most expensive, cause the most delays, and won't leave an opportunity for a competing rocket to save the day.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @11:52PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @11:52PM (#1126054)

          The first test was Jan 16. The retest was supposed to be in Feb but got delayed until today due to more problems with the rocket. Sorry for the noise.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by KilroySmith on Thursday March 18 2021, @04:26PM

      by KilroySmith (2113) on Thursday March 18 2021, @04:26PM (#1125825)

      Rockets aren't yet as reliable as passenger aircraft; when loading a zillion tons of cryogenic and flammable fluids into the rocket containing thousands of sensors (temperature, pressure, strain, flow, position, etc) through dozens of valves, it's common for something to indicate a fault. Happens to every rocket system out there. The standard procedure is to halt the countdown, double-check the reported fault condition against redundant sensors, make a decision whether the fault is real or false, and if it's real whether it should stop the launch or not. Making those checks and decisions takes time, which delays the launch until later in the window.

      Ever been on a flight where the captain says "We'll have to wait here for a few minutes until Maintenance has a chance to check out ?" I have, several times.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by DannyB on Thursday March 18 2021, @06:06PM (1 child)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 18 2021, @06:06PM (#1125859) Journal

      Windows for launches make perfect sense.

      Just like javascript for flight control software makes perfect sense.

      --
      Calmly vote. Fill out your ballet and drop it in the ballet box. Don't dance around bothering the pole watchers.
      • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday March 19 2021, @12:46AM

        by Immerman (3985) on Friday March 19 2021, @12:46AM (#1126087)

        Someday, someone will actually get Microsoft into court over that stupidly-granted trademark.

        Seems like the usual pattern though is that Microsoft files suit over a trademark violation, and then (presumably, behind closed doors) offers to either drag out the court case until their victim is bankrupt and can't pursue it to final victory, or pay them to change their name. Not surprisingly everyone has chosen the second option.

        Someday though. Someday...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @11:08PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18 2021, @11:08PM (#1126014)

      Test fires need windows to get the right people together at the same specific time. You can't fly in a dozens of busy engineers, technicians, & assembler observers from the 10 different places the parts were assembled and tell them the test will happen sometime in the next 5 days.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by DannyB on Thursday March 18 2021, @08:47PM (4 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 18 2021, @08:47PM (#1125939) Journal

    So they fired for over eight minutes. Nothing blew up.

    During the build up to the test, I liked how they confidently talk about SLS and the Orion capsule will be the way humans will return to the moon. Uh, I wouldn't place bets on that just yet.

    They got the full duration test data they were after today.

    --
    Calmly vote. Fill out your ballet and drop it in the ballet box. Don't dance around bothering the pole watchers.
    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19 2021, @12:18AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19 2021, @12:18AM (#1126069)

      If Senator Shelby and his cronies on the Appropriations Committee have anything to say about it, and they very much do, then SLS will be the only way that Americans return to the moon, if at all. This is the man who threatened to kill NASA's manned space program completely if ULA even mentioned in-space refuelling, let alone tried to develop the technology, because it would allow them to compete with SLS.

      • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday March 19 2021, @12:49AM

        by Immerman (3985) on Friday March 19 2021, @12:49AM (#1126088)

        > SLS will be the only way that NASA returns to the moon

        Fixed that for you. Other Americans will be free to hire Starship for a tiny fraction of the cost. And it won't be NASA establishing a commercially viable fuel (oxygen) refinery on the moon.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Friday March 19 2021, @10:52AM (1 child)

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday March 19 2021, @10:52AM (#1126173) Journal

        Shelby is retiring after 2022, at least.

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        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19 2021, @07:55PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19 2021, @07:55PM (#1126420)

          True, but his best crony Bill 'Ballast' Nelson is being appointed as head of NASA. I'm halfway expecting him to cut the commercial crew program (that is saving NASA hundreds of millions per launch) so he can plow more money into SLS. He already tried it once as a Senator and managed to expropriate half the funding.

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