NASA is considering a second “hot fire” test of the Megarocket after an unexpected shutdown

NASA is considering a second "hot fire" test of the Megarocket after an unexpected shutdown

A giant column springs from the base stage of the SLS during a hot test fire on January 16.

A giant column springs from the base stage of the SLS during a hot test fire on January 16.
picture: NASA

A recent hot flame test of NASA’s next-generation mega spacecraft was supposed to be done Eight minutes, but it lasted Only 67 seconds. The space agency has an explanation for the early shutdown, saying everything is inflating, but a second test remains an obvious possibility.

The first hot fire test of the Space Launch System (SLS) took place on Saturday. Jan.16 at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, stops completely at just over oneMinute mark when the main parameter entered the out of bounds area, explained NASA in a statement. The parameter involved has to do with the hydraulics required to drive each rocket engine.

For the test – the eighth and (possibly) final Green Run test system – NASA planned to fire all four of the rocket’s RS-25 engines for up to eight minutes. 212 feet (65-meterA missile stage mounted on the B-2 test platform, and with the base stage filled with more than 700,000 gallons of propellant, the engines went to work at 5:27 PM EST, releasing a massive plume of exhaust. This went on for exactly 67.2 seconds until the computers shut down everything.

NASA reviewed the data and conducted initial system inspections, finding that the missile hardware was in “excellent condition” and that the shutdown “was triggered by test parameters that were intentionally conservative to ensure primary stage safety during testing.”

Four RS-25 engines during the hot fire test.

Four RS-25 engines during the hot fire test.
picture: NASA TV

It will be the SLS that Boeing built NASA’s most powerful rocket And a key component of Artemis’ mission to the moon. It consisted of a base stage with four RS-25 engines, along with two small rocket boosters attached to each side similar to the space shuttle program. Once turned on, SLS will They are used to send American astronauts to the moon at some point during 2020. The inaugural unmanned launch could happen later this year.

Speak to SpaceFlightNow, outgoing NASA chief Jim Bridenstein He said NASA “might be able to transfer the missile to Kennedy.” [Space Center in Florida] And preparing it for launch, “adding that” this decision has not been taken, “as the situation is still uncertain.

In fact, NASA is still trying to determine if it was the second heatA fire test will be required. Given the results of the first test, the team can adjust the thrust vector control parameters to prevent a similar shutdownDown, according to NASA.

A hot fire test of the primary stage took place January 16 at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

A hot fire test of the primary stage took place January 16 at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
picture: NASA TV

The pre-programmed parameters of the hot launch test are for the ground test, and are designed so that the base-stage thrust control system can safely adjust the direction of the RS-25 motors. In addition to Push vector system, A series of actuators that provide the forces required to drive each motor, and are supported by the Primary Stage Auxiliary Power Units (CAPU). the hubThe engines worked as planned, but the associated hydraulic system “exceeded the pre-set test limits that had been set,” resulting in the shutdownDown, according to NASA.

NASA says this is not a problem, and if the SLS were in flight, the missile would have continued its journey using the remaining CAPUs. In fact, NASA said a short test actually showed this.

What’s more, the gimbalNASA said the test that shut down the CAPU was “a deliberate case of stress for the system that was intended to exert the capabilities of the system.” “Data is evaluated as part of the process of finalizing pre-defined test boundaries before the next use of the primary stage.”

In terms of the pluses, It was the second successful wet test (i.e. The missile was fully loaded with fuel), and the team was able to squeeze the fuel tanks, and completed a countdown timer that ignited the engines. On full blast, the engines peaked at 1.6 million pounds of thrust.

The team will continue to investigate the apparent flashes seen around the engines. The thermal blankets used to protect the engine from intense heat have shown signs of burning, which is not surprising Due to its proximity to the engines and CAPU exhaust. However, NASA wants to make sure that this was normal behavior.

As noted, a second hot fire test is not out of the question. As reported on SpaceFlightNow, Boeing’s SLS Program Director John Shannon said the team wanted to obtain at least 250 seconds of data and evaluate it during testing before moving on to the next stage. aIt is clear , A full eight-minute test would be better, as this is the total length of time an SLS rocket would take to reach space.

Yes, this could represent a potential delay, but there might not be any impulsivity. It is not clear If the Biden administration asked NASA to reach the surface of the moon in 2024, that would be fasterTimeline ated pushed by the Trump administration.

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