Science

Space Launch System rocket could conduct a hot fire test soon


NASA’s Space Launch System rocket is ready to proceed to the final test in the Green Run series. The final test is the hot fire test and could happen as early as January 17. Hot fire is the cumulation of all the Green Run test series, which was an eight-part test campaign. The point of the test series was to gradually bring the core stage of the SLS rocket to life for the first time.

The seventh test for the SLS core stage in the Green Run series, known as the wet dress rehearsal, happened on December 20. That was the first time cryogenic liquid propellant is fully loaded into and drained from the core stage takes. The test also demonstrated software with the rocket’s flight computers and avionics and conducted functional checks of all the rocket systems.

NASA says the end of the test was stopped a few minutes early due to timing on a valve closure. Data analysis determined the valve’s predicted closure was off by a fraction of a second, and the hardware, software, and stage controller performed properly to stop the test. The team on the project corrected the timing and is prepared to move on to the next test, the hot fire test.

During the hot fire test, all four SLS rocket engines will ignite simultaneously and fire for eight minutes to simulate the performance’s core stages during launch. After the firing, the rocket will be refurbished and shipped to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Once it arrives there, it will be assembled with the other sections of the rocket, including the Orion spacecraft, in preparation for the Artemis I mission.

Boeing is the primary contractor for the core stage SLS rocket, and Aerojet Rocketdyne is the lead contractor for the RS-25 engines. The SLS rocket will be used in the future to put astronauts on the moon by 2024.

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