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posted by janrinok on Wednesday June 22, @10:54AM   Printer-friendly
from the for-some-values-of-'success' dept.

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.

    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

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @12:35PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @12:35PM (#1255332)

    SpaceX runs with failure is not an option is sub-optimal as long as you learn and nobody get's hurt.

    Why isn't this be an example of Boeing actually testing and sorting things out before launch?

    They have a LOT of pressure to get it right when they actually press the launch button. Any bugs they find before this is a good thing as long as they learn and nobody gets hurt.

    (It is kind of fun to hold B up to the standards of X, though ;-)

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @02:11PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @02:11PM (#1255351)

      There's not a thing wrong with finding problems now rather than later, but the problem is that they didn't finish the test. Will they do it again to exercise the last 30 seconds? If this were a SpaceX rocket, I'm sure NASA would require them to re-test. But since it's SLS, they'll probably declare it a success, and hope that there aren't any other, undetected problems in the last 30 seconds of the launch sequence.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Freeman on Wednesday June 22, @03:10PM (3 children)

      by Freeman (732) on Wednesday June 22, @03:10PM (#1255369) Journal

      The big problem is that's not their model.

      SpaceX is on an iterative cycle, continuously improving and testing. When things go boom, they already have the next rocket in production and can tweak it, to fix the problem. SLS is on a monolithic cycle, if it goes boom, expect a few more billion being needed to make a #2.

      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @04:38PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @04:38PM (#1255391)

        "The big problem is that's not their model."

        True, but neither model (analyse to death and expect success or just built it) works. One needs a dash of humility to use both models in concert.
        This story seems to be about something failing in incremental testing probably after analysis to death says it should work.

        If they take the lesson as they should have done more analysis, then they still don't get it, and yes, they have a big problem.
        If they take the lesson as analysis doesn't eliminate the need for testing and failing a test can be ok, then maybe their problem is not a big one.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @05:01PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @05:01PM (#1255398)

          Management always wants to cut ground testing because it can save a lot of money and schedule, so they are very tempted to sign off with validation by analysis.

          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @04:37AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @04:37AM (#1255524)

            Prototyping is both cheaper and much faster than the deep systems analysis NASA typically does. Such analysis is necessary for deep space missions where field testing simply isn't possible, but due to cost plus contracts with Congressionally enforced lack of accountability it gets used in absence of prototyping precisely because it is more expensive and takes longer, creating many more billable hours.

            You are correct that a combination approach is optimal, which is how NASA used to do it and SpaceX does it now.