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NASA mobile launcher for its massive rocket in deep space is tilted

NASA has a large rocket in the works called Space Launch System that will be used in the future to launch up to four astronauts at a time to deep space in the Orion spacecraft. These missions will be some of the first to take astronauts into deep space if they succeed. But part of the launch sequence does not go according to plan. The mobile launcher that NASA plans to use to launch the SLS bowed slightly, reported NASASpaceflight.com.

  NASA mobile launcher NASA's mobile launcher has been built to adapt it to the space launch system. Photo: NASA / Cory Huston

The launcher updates started in 2015 to adapt to the SLS, Orion and Ground Support Equipment that will be used for the launches. It was originally built for the Ares I launches so updates are necessary so that it can handle much larger rockets and systems. Improvements include reinforcements to the base and tower, as well as an improved exhaust hole that can direct the escape of larger rocket systems, according to NASA.

The launcher is tilted but structurally sound and requires no modification to fix lean, according to NASASpaceflight.com. However, the Lean does not require any modification or movement to mitigate lean, NASA told NASASpaceflight.com. The initiator is called a mobile launcher for some reason, it moves, which means that it does not remain perfectly still.

The data does not indicate that there is any kind of structural problem with the initiator, instead of the modifications and the addition of weapons to the tower changed the mass of the structure. In addition, things like wind, temperature and vibrations can also lead to the tilt of the massive tower, according to NASA.

This week, NASA tested the SLS. The agency tested the RS-25 engine in the SLS and 113 percent capacity, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The full test lasted 260 seconds, but only 50 of them ran at 113 percent. The SLS is expected to be launched sometime in 2019.

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