Green Run rocket test encounters shutdown with MCF on engine 4

James Marshall
January 21, 2021

A second full-blown test firing would reduce the remaining number of fill-ups.

The core stage of NASA's giant Space Launch System (SLS) moon rocket is in good shape despite its early shutdown during a crucial test this past weekend, agency officials said. These included the engine hydraulics.

The first test of the SLS aimed to evaluate the performance of its four engines, in full action, during the period of approximately eight minutes. However, it was cut down after an issue within just 67 seconds.

"Despite an early engine shutdown, NASA engineers will have a wealth of information to use to improve future tests of the SLS system". This trial run was considered a vital checkpoint for its much-delayed SLS, which is set to play a major role in the Artemis program to send astronauts to the Moon. It consists of a core stage with four RS-25 engines, along with two smaller solid rocket boosters attached to each side à la the Space Shuttle Program.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration views the SLS as America's deep-space rocket - a larger, successor to the iconic Saturn V - to carry astronauts to the moon, Mars and beyond. An uncrewed inaugural launch could happen later this year.

"It must be said, and this is so important, that we have strong, bipartisan, apolitical support for the Artemis programme", Mr Bridenstine explained, adding that he believed Nasa could come up with a range of options for human exploration that the incoming administration could buy into. As a result, the core stage's flight computers had no choice but to end the test as an automatic response to the exceeded parameters.

The four RS-25 engines blazed to life during the hot fire test at the Stennis Space Center, Mississippi. Specifically, it was the system that was meant to pivot or gimbal every engine during the fleat. For the test, the 212-foot core stage (considered the backbone of the SLS rocket) "generated 1.6 million pounds of thrust, while anchored in the B-2 Test Stand", NASA said. While the SLS team will continue to investigate that reading, officials said it did not contribute to the shutdown.

Later this year, it had been due to launch Nasa's next-generation crew vehicle - Orion - on a loop around the Moon.

As is known, NASA is working hard to return to mid-2020 after its last visit, which ended in 1972, and sending a man to the moon. "The data is being assessed as part of the process of finalising the pre-set test limits prior to the next usage of the core stage". They successfully pressurised the propellant tanks, completed the countdown, and ignited the engines for the first time.

The so-called hot fire exercise at the NASA's Stennis Space Center in MS was created to simulate a full flight from Earth. Thermal blankets used to protect the engine from the intense heat showed signs of scorching, which isn't odd given their proximity to the engines and CAPU exhaust.

As noted, a second hotfire test is not out of the question.

According to agency sources, program managers are actually leaning towards running a second test shooting in Mississippi.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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