See NASA’s Artemis Lunar Rocket Come To Life In A Spectacular Hot Fire Test –

See NASA’s Artemis Lunar Rocket Come To Life In A Spectacular Hot Fire Test

GIF by Leslie Katz / CNET

The second time it was a delight. NASA completed a critical hot fire test of its core stage of the Space Launch System on Thursday, a follow-up to a previous test that did not go as planned. The event lasted about eight minutes and created a huge billowing cloud that spread into a nearby forest at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

NASA wants to escort humans back to the moon. The agency has been targeting an Artemis I mission around the moon without a crew later in 2021, but first it needed to test its lunar rocket here on Earth.

NASA refers to the core stage as “the backbone of the SLS rocket.” Hot fires are dramatic affairs that are intended to simulate the harshness of launch conditions. Today’s event was to be the final part of the “Green Run” series of tests designed to test the SLS core stage before it was actually launched from Earth.

Here’s NASA’s description of what happens during the SLS fire: “On the day of the test, the engineers will fire up all the core systems on the stage, load over 700,000 gallons of cryogenic or supercool propellant into the tanks, and fire the rocket’s four RS -25 engines simultaneously to simulate stage operation during launch, generating 1.6 million pounds of thrust. ”

the The first attempt at the hot fire in mid-January did not go well, when the rocket went off just over a minute in what should have been an eight-minute test.

In late January, NASA said it planned to start a second fire. The repeat test was originally scheduled for late February, but was delayed after engineers discovered that a valve, part of a system that supplies liquid oxygen to an engine, was malfunctioning. The SLS team fixed the problem and repaired the valve.

“After analyzing the initial data, the team determined that the shutdown after starting the engines for 67.2 seconds on January 16 was caused by test parameters that were intentionally conservative to ensure the safety of the center stage during testing.” NASA said in a report. statement on January 19. The agency will try to arrive within eight minutes during the renewal.

NASA reported that the center stage, its engines and the test bed were in “excellent condition” with no need for major repairs before the next attempt. The second test seemed to work as expected and prompted applause from the NASA team overseeing the exercise.

While Artemis will not have humans on board, subsequent SLS missions will be responsible for safely escorting the astronauts into space. “All SLS rockets use the same center stage design, NASA said,” so a second hot Green Run fire will reduce the risk not only for Artemis I, but also for all future SLS missions. “

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