NASA’s Space Launch System rocket test, scheduled for Saturday, quickly derailed, calling into question the next steps to send Americans into space and to the moon.
The space launch system is designed to be the most powerful rockets ever built, with four RS-25 rocket engines and two external boosters built by Northrop Grumman.
On Saturday, he was scheduled to undergo a fire test at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. This was to be the final Green Run test of eight tests.
The test was originally supposed to take place in November, but it was postponed due to a fueling problem discovered during a previous test.
Investor’s Business Daily reports that Saturday’s test lasted just over a minute before ending, although it was supposed to last eight minutes.
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NASA’s Stennis Space Launch Scheduled Test of Space Launch System Fails
Saturday’s tests were to be the last of eight green missile tests.
One of the missiles suffered a “core component failure” resulting in the safe shutdown of all four missiles.
Before the shutdown, NASA was able to power up the entire system, load over 700,000 gallons of fuel into the tanks, and simultaneously start the engines in a launch style.
NASA was able to get some data from the test, although it would take at least four minutes for the organization to get the data it really needed.
“If, for any reason, we had stopped earlier, we would have all the engineering data needed to provide high confidence in the vehicle in about 250 seconds,” said John Shannon, Boeing’s SLS program manager earlier this week.
However, literally a minute after the start of the test, the “failure of the main component” demanded shutdown.
The rockets were safely stopped, but there was no information about what happened.
There is no timetable for a possible rerun of the test, but SpaceNews says it will likely take at least another week to run a new test if NASA decides to do so.
NASA planned to send the core of the space launch system to the Kennedy Space Center in February to merge with the Orion spacecraft, but this is now in doubt.
The rockets are powerful enough to accelerate Orion to 24,500 miles per hour, which is the speed needed to get the spacecraft to the moon.
The launch dates of the space launch system have been postponed many times, since it was originally assumed that the launch of the system would take place in 2016.
The missiles could fire simultaneously in launch mode before stopping.
Space launch system set to be the most powerful rockets ever built
The space launch system will take the Orion spacecraft back to the moon at a speed of 24,500 miles per hour.
The Trump administration has set a timetable for the space launch system to be part of the return of astronauts to the moon by 2024, but Joe Biden is not sticking to that timetable.
There is still hope for the Artemis I unmanned test flight to be launched by the end of 2021.
According to NASA’s Assistant Administrator for Manned Space Flight, the rocket’s development costs are projected at $ 9.1 billion, up 30 percent from the original estimated cost.
In a blog post on NASA’s website, the agency said, “All four RS-25 engines fired successfully, but the test was terminated in less than a minute. At the moment, the test has been fully automated. During firing, the on-board software worked properly and initiated a safe shutdown of the engines.
“During the test, the fuel tanks were under pressure, and this data will be valuable as the team plans the way forward. In the coming days, engineers will continue to analyze the data and inspect the main stage and its four RS-25 engines to determine next steps. ”
A briefing from NASA on the test was scheduled to take place late Saturday night.
In the entire history of mankind, twelve people have visited the moon. However, there has been no moon landing since 1972, and NASA has not sent astronauts into space for nearly a decade as private companies like SpaceX began to fill the void in human space exploration.