Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

SoylentNews is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop. Only 18 submissions in the queue.
posted by janrinok on Tuesday April 19, @01:21AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the try-try-again dept.

NASA to roll back its mega rocket after failing to complete countdown test

After three attempts to complete a critical fueling test of the Space Launch System rocket, NASA has decided to take a break.

On Saturday night the space agency announced plans to roll the large SLS rocket from the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center to the Vehicle Assembly Building in the coming days. This marks a notable step back for the program, which has tried since April 1 to complete a "wet dress rehearsal" test, during which the rocket is fueled and brought to within 10 seconds of launch.

The decision comes after three tries during the last two weeks. Each fueling attempt was scuttled by one or more technical issues with the rocket, its mobile launch tower, or ground systems that supply propellants and gases. During the most recent attempt, on Thursday April 14, NASA succeeded in loading 49 percent of the core-stage liquid oxygen fuel tank and 5 percent of the liquid hydrogen tank.

While this represents progress, it did not include the most dynamic portion of the test, during which the rocket is fully fueled and pressurized; and it, the ground systems, and computer systems are put into a terminal countdown when every variable is closely monitored. NASA had hoped to complete this wet dress rehearsal test to work out the kinks in the complicated launch system so that, when the rocket is rolled out later this year for its actual launch, the countdown will proceed fairly smoothly.

Also at Spaceflight Now.

Previously: Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal Now Scheduled to Begin April 12


Original Submission

Related Stories

Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal Now Scheduled to Begin April 12 21 comments

NASA has been preparing for a wet dress rehearsal for the Artemis I rocket, but have hit several issues causing delays, the most recent being a faulty helium gas check valve. They have now announced that a modified wet dress rehearsal will start with a call to stations on April 12. This rehearsal proceeds through as an actual launch activity that scrubs at the T-10 second point. The modified test will focus on filling the core stage with cryogenic propellant, but with minimal propellant operations on the interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS). Following the test, the rocket will be returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building to replace the helium check valve as well as to assess the launch procedures.

NASA is streaming live video of the rocket and spacecraft on the Kennedy Newsroom YouTube channel.


Original Submission

NASA Finally Succeeds With its Artemis 1 Wet Launch Test 6 comments

NASA finally succeeds with its Artemis 1 wet launch test:

NASA encountered a couple of issues while conducting the Artemis 1 "wet dress rehearsal," but it still checked off a major milestone by the time the test had ended. The agency was able to fully fuel all the Space Launch System's propellant tanks for the first time and was able to proceed to terminal launch countdown. [...]

This attempt wasn't flawless either: NASA had to put fueling on hold a couple of times since the rehearsal started on Saturday. Fueling was first put on hold on early Monday morning due to an issue with the rocket's backup supply of gaseous nitrogen. The team was able to repair the valve for the gaseous nitrogen line, however, and fueling recommenced a couple of hours later. As CNN notes, though, a few issues popped up just as the team was finishing up the fueling process on Monday afternoon. They discovered a hydrogen leak and had to find options to seal it after their first solution didn't work. Plus, the flare stack, which burns excess liquid hydrogen from the rocket, caused a small fire in the grassy area around the launch site.

In the end, the launch controllers came up with a plan to mask data associated with the leak so as not trigger a hold by the launch computer. That wouldn't fly in a real launch scenario, but they wanted to get as far into the countdown as possible to gather the data they need. They were successfully able to resume the 10-minute final launch countdown after an extended hold and got to T-29 seconds before they had to end the test completely. [...]

Regardless, they successfully performed several critical operations needed for launch during the test, including handing over control from the ground launch sequencer to the automated launch sequencer controlled by the rocket's flight software.

Previously:
    Space Launch System Test Delayed for Weeks After Three Failed Attempts
    Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal Now Scheduled to Begin April 12
    NASA's Big Rocket Faces its Last Test Before Launching


Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @02:01AM (10 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @02:01AM (#1238069)

    to rag on SLS, and rightfully so.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday April 19, @04:06AM (9 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 19, @04:06AM (#1238086) Journal
      Well rockets are hard and all. So that a test failed isn't in itself a big deal. What makes it a big deal is the combination of cost and disinterest of the contractors in the outcome. I bet SpaceX won't spend within an order of magnitude of this test for any similar tests of their super heavy.
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @04:41AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @04:41AM (#1238096)

        It don't matter for SLS. It's a pork project.

        Alabama's gonna Alabama.

        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @09:59AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @09:59AM (#1238122)

          It isn't just Alabama. Every single state gets a piece of the pie, exactly like the F-35. Both programs were also designed from the ground up by Congress to take as long as possible and cost as much as possible to feed as many dollars as possible to their biggest campaign donors, primarily Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The only difference is that the Pentagon has enough clout to eventually force a working vehicle out of that mess despite the political pressure, while NASA is forced to grin and bear it.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bradley13 on Tuesday April 19, @07:22AM (2 children)

        by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 19, @07:22AM (#1238110) Homepage Journal

        cost and disinterest of the contractors in the outcome

        Disinterest? Nah. At the level of the engineers, they are frustrated and disappointed. At the level of upper management, they are rubbing their hands over more charges for those cost-plus contracts. Ultimately, success will end the program, since the launches are far too expensive. Failure can be dragged out for many more years.

        I would add a sarcasm tag, but...it's not sarcasm when it's true.

        --
        Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @09:30PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @09:30PM (#1238285)

          No, but it isn't true. I know it feels all fun and cool to be nihilistic and all, but even upper management wants this to succeed because that is great PR and that means more work like this. They'd love to stand up there cheering and celebrating in Mission Control, etc. Not only is pulling off something like this really cool, maybe they get to feel like it was due to their great leadership, they get to plaster their corporate logos all over everything, get to run full-page ads in newspapers and magazines saying how awesome they are and how cool they are to work for, etc. The problem you have with the big contractors is that they are dinosaurs with years of embedded bureaucracies and processes and stovepipes and internal management conflicts and all that other crap that all very large organizations have. They are also shackled with decades of NASA processes, with a lot of that resulting from failures with loss of life. Pick any company, agency, organization, when they get "too big to fail", they've got many layers of managers and VPs and inertia, which also results in a lot of extra cost to pay for all of those people. This will also be the future of SpaceX when they suffer a catastrophic failure resulting in some sort of non-trivial loss that invokes Congressional investigations and "Blue Ribbon" panels of experts. The root cause will be identified, and the solution ultimately ends up being adding more levels of oversight and tests, and changing the test and design process to add more nines onto the end of the percentage of success calculation.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 20, @12:12AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 20, @12:12AM (#1238318)

            NASA management wants this bird to fly, possibly a bit too much. Historically they are the most likely source of get-there-itis. Boeing management would be perfectly happy with another decade of paid delays.

            NASA is shackled by Congress's mandated cost plus contracting scheme, which is the root of the problems with SLS. Boeing and Lockheed Martin have lobbied hard for decades to ensure it stays that way.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @10:32AM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @10:32AM (#1238126)

        Excluding Orion and the EUS, the SLS program burns around $5.5M per day. At that rate, once they finish rolling it back to the VAB on the 26th, this test will have cost around $143M. Between building both stages, permit fees, launch costs, and renting the Pacific Missile Range [wikipedia.org], Starship's upcoming orbital flight test could easily break $200M.

        Wait, you said similar tests. My bad. ;)

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday April 19, @06:16PM (2 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 19, @06:16PM (#1238227) Journal
          To give an idea of the extent of the vast chasm in costs here, SpaceX spent $390 million [soylentnews.org] (developing 3 rocket engines, 2 rockets including the Falcon 9, and 6 test flights).
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @09:36PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @09:36PM (#1238286)

            So a bit less than ULA charges NASA for a single launch ($422M). By that logic Starship R&D should come in around $4B. That actually sounds about right if you include ground infrastructure and factory complex.

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday April 19, @10:14PM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 19, @10:14PM (#1238294) Journal
              From my above linked post, we have the following:

              [khallow:] For Falcon Heavy, we have Musk's claim [behindtheblack.com] that it's over $500M. Similarly for Super Heavy and Starship, it's forecast [wordpress.com] to be somewhere over $2.5 billion (on a "$10 billion budget" allegedly split between first stage and Starship upper stage), same dubious source.

              $4 billion would indeed be over $2.5 billion.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @02:06AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @02:06AM (#1238071)

    If the faa would stop fucking around, maybe elon wouldn't get distracted by buying twitter.
    At this point it almost feels like someone is throwing spanners in gears so sls can do something interesting before starship.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by coolgopher on Tuesday April 19, @02:20AM

      by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 19, @02:20AM (#1238074)

      I wouldn't worry too much. SLS is likely to have their own oversupply of spanners for a long time. Which isn't surprising, when one stacks a bunch of pork barrels on top of each other and calls it a rocket...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @10:40AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @10:40AM (#1238128)

      I've been saying that for over a year, though IIRC this month's delay was from Fish and Wildlife. We'll see who asks for more time at the end of the month.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday April 19, @11:21AM (1 child)

      Maybe Dragon XL will get axed in favor of Starship:

      https://www.teslarati.com/nasa-spacex-dragon-xl-lunar-cargo-spacecraft-rfi/ [teslarati.com]

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @11:30PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @11:30PM (#1238312)

        Musk will just deliver Dragon by Starship. Much cheaper that way. ;) Thanks for the link.

  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday April 19, @02:23AM (1 child)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday April 19, @02:23AM (#1238075)

    Smooth NASA countdown?

    Cheerful pessimists,

    crash landing,

    eloquent silence,

    genuine imitation,

    military intelligence.

    --
    Україна не входить до складу Росії.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @10:36AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 19, @10:36AM (#1238127)

      Don't knock it. Unlike these jokers [arstechnica.com], NASA can count down from 10. Though, in fairness, Pythom Space haven't actually killed anyone (yet).

(1)