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NASA will run a static-fire SLS trial in the mid-January

NASA intends to conclude the Space Launch System core phase Green Run test phase with a hot-fire test planned for the mid-January. NASA Agency announced on January 5 that a static-fire drill, where the quad RS-25 engines of the core stage are ignited for a full-duration blast of 493 seconds, has been planned at the Stennis Space Center which is situated in Mississippi for no later than January 17. After analyzing data from a December 20 wet dress rehearsal drill, where the central stage was filled with the liquid hydrogen as well as liquid oxygen propellants, NASA took the decision and then went through a trial countdown.

The countdown was meant to go till 33 seconds until initiation, but “a few moments” before that ended instead, NASA stated in a report on December 21. NASA went on to say that the initial end of wet dress rehearsal was activated when a valve closed earlier than the projected time.   “The group has resolved the scheduling and is willing, to begin with, the Green Run series’ final evaluation,” the organization reported.

The only big problem NASA identified with wet dress rehearsal was the valve concern, the seventh in a set of tests in the general Green Run program. “The central stage, stage controller, as well as the Green Run application all functioned perfectly during the wet dress rehearsal Green Run evaluation, and that there were no spills when the reservoirs were filled and refilled for about two hours,” Julie Bassler, NASA’s SLS Stages manager, stated in the agency release. “To date, data from all the evaluations have given us the reason to continue with the hot fire.”

It would take place almost precisely one year after the NASA Agency was able to install the core stage on a B-2 test stand at the Stennis if the January 17 date for the hot-fire evaluation holds. The organization planned, at the period, to finish the Green Run experiments by the late summer. However, along with several moving tropical weather systems, a two-month closure of Stennis triggered by the coronavirus epidemic postponed the series of experiments. The delays have due to logistical problems with the central stage and its evaluation equipment. NASA Agency first attempted the core stage wet dress rehearsal on Dec. 7 but abandoned it because it was too warm for liquid oxygen to flood through the stage.

Agency officers said the problem was with the filling phase of the propellant, and not a fault with the central stage itself. NASA will deliver the core stage to Kennedy Space Center after the Green Run test is completed, to be combined with the other components of the SLS as well as the Orion spacecraft for the Artemis 1 mission. In late 2021, NASA had intended to launch Artemis 1, but the current setbacks in the Green Run have mostly reduced the margin for such a date in the timeline.

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