NASA completes ‘wet dress rehearsal’ of its space launch system


The main stage of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) at the B-2 test stand near NASA's Stennis Space Center, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

The main stage of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) at the B-2 test stand near NASA’s Stennis Space Center, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
The image: NASA

Engineers at NASA and Boeing have added cryogenic propellants to the original phase of the space launch system (SLS), reaching a major milestone in the development of this advanced rocket.

He is seven down, one to go.

NASA is in the midst of its SLS core phase green run test, a series of tests to prepare the rocket for the long-awaited actual launch. The latest test, conducted Sunday at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, was dubbed a “wet dress rehearsal”, in which engineers loaded more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic propellants into a rocket’s tank. The propellant was then controlled and dried, “returning the phase to a safe state,” accordingly For NASA’s statement.

NASA can now examine the seventh item from this list.

NASA can now examine the seventh item from this list.
Graphic: NASA

With the completion of this seventh Green Run test, NASA can now look ahead to the eighth and final test, in which all four RS-25 engines will be fired upward for eight minutes. This test will set the stage for certification and the dawn of the Artemis era. NASA is hoping to launch SLS, the SAN crew, in November 2021.

The 212-foot-long SLS rocket, with its massive four-engine core stage, is an integral part of the Artemis program. The current plan to send astronauts to the lunar surface in 2024 could be disrupted if the SLS program fails to deliver on time.

The propellant for SLS consists of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Together, it acts as a propellant fuel and as an oxidizing agent necessary to ignite the fuel. The chemicals are cooled to ultra-low temperatures to hold the propellant in a compact liquid form. Six barges gave the propellant necessary for testing, making a feat possible for the waterway network In area. The refueling work was carried out by the B-2 test stand, a facility for the SLS core rocket section.

Main stage of SLS rocket The main stage is known as the “backbone” of the SLS rocket.
Graphic: NASA

NASA and Boeing engineers carefully monitored all core phase systems during testing. According to NASA “the propellant has performed well during the initial stage of propellant loading and refill process,” takes a preliminary look at the data.

But the test was not perfect. The plan was to simulate an actual countdown with the propellant in the core, but the test ended abruptly when the clock reached T-33 seconds, For reasons that are not yet known. “The core stage and B-2 test stand are in excellent condition, and this does not appear to be an issue with the hardware,” NASA explained, adding “the team is evaluating the data to pinpoint the exact cause of the initial shutdown”. “

Despite this unclear problem, NASA will now proceed with the eighth Green Run test, which should be far more exciting than the loading of the propellant. In fact, we are itching to see this monster, even if it has to stay on the ground. at least for now.

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