Green Run Wet Dress Rehearsal Update

NASA is proceeding with Green Run testing of the Artemis I core stage at the agency’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. After refining the procedures for test operations, NASA is planning to conduct a full wet dress rehearsal next week.

On Dec. 5, engineers powered up the stage to start wet dress rehearsal testing and successfully conducted an initial propellant loading on Dec. 7. This partial loading showed the stage performed well and has given the NASA and Boeing team a valuable opportunity to practice loading procedures and monitor the Artemis I core stage as it is exposed to cryogenic, or supercold, liquids for the first time. While performing operations to load liquid oxygen propellant earlier in the day, data showed the temperature of the propellant was warmer than planned, and the NASA and Boeing team paused the test to take a closer look at the data before committing to loading all 700,000 gallons of propellant. The team proceeded with loading a limited amount of liquid hydrogen, cooled to minus 423 degrees Fahrenheit, without any issues.

After an integrated assessment of the core stage and the facility, the team identified processes and equipment that could be modified to keep the liquid oxygen at the proper temperature during delivery to the stage. The team is now implementing these changes while Stennis personnel replenish propellants and other commodities needed to run the full wet dress rehearsal.

The wet dress rehearsal is the seventh of eight Green Run tests and the last before the hot fire test of the entire stage. The purpose of the wet dress rehearsal is to complete propellant loading operations and thoroughly check out the core stage’s complex systems as they are exposed to cryogenic propellant for the first time. Following wet dress rehearsal, the team will analyze the data and set a date for the hot fire test

Tune in to nasa.gov/live at 12 p.m. EST Thursday, Dec. 10 to for more details on the upcoming test in the Green Run testing series for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s core stage that will fly on the agency’s Artemis I mission.

Check back at this blog for the date of the full wet dress rehearsal and other updates on Green Run testing.

NASA Names Artemis Team of Astronauts Eligible for Early Moon Missions

NASA has selected 18 astronauts from its corps to form the Artemis Team and help pave the way for the next astronaut missions on and around the Moon as part of the Artemis program.

Vice President Mike Pence introduced the members of the Artemis Team Wednesday during the eighth National Space Council meeting at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“I give you the heroes who will carry us to the Moon and beyond – the Artemis Generation,” said Vice President Mike Pence. “It is amazing to think that the next man and first woman on the Moon are among the names that we just read. The Artemis Team astronauts are the future of American space exploration – and that future is bright.”

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Green Run Wet Dress Rehearsal Update

NASA successfully powered up the core stage at the agency’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi on Dec. 5 and started the process to load propellant for the first time into the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage Dec. 7. To complete this wet dress rehearsal exercise, cryogenic propellants are transferred from facility barge systems to the core stage. To test propellant loading procedures, engineers successfully loaded a small amount of liquid hydrogen into the core stage without any issues. Then, they paused propellant loading to review data and adjust procedures before loading additional propellant.

Operations are continuing, and the team will refine the procedures and resume the wet dress rehearsal test in the coming days. The core stage performed well, and there are no issues with the stage, the B-2 test stand, or other facilities at Stennis.

The purpose of the test is to complete first-time operations using the new facilities and new rocket stage and adjust processes as necessary. The wet dress rehearsal is the seventh of eight Green Run tests being performed on the Artemis I core stage. Check back at this blog for more updates.

SLS Rocket Core Stages Taking Shape for Artemis II and III

Technicians are simultaneously manufacturing NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) core stages for the Artemis II and Artemis III lunar missions at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The core stage for the deep space rocket consists of two huge propellant tanks, four RS-25 engines, and miles of cabling for the avionics systems and flight computers. All the main core stage structures for Artemis II, the first mission with astronauts, have been built and are being outfitted with electronics, feedlines, propulsion systems, and other components. Engineers are welding the core stage structures for the Artemis III mission, which will land the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface, through a process called friction stir welding. The manufacturing progress for Artemis II and III comes as the first core stage for the SLS rocket undergoes Green Run testing at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

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Update on Orion Final Assembly and Transfer

NASA’s Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission is completing final assembly at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Engineers recently installed the three spacecraft jettison fairing panels to protect the European Service Module and the forward bay cover, which protects the upper part of Orion including its parachutes throughout its mission. While powering up the spacecraft to prepare for the pressurization of the crew module uprighting system, which ensures the capsule is oriented upward after splashdown, engineers identified an issue with a redundant channel in a power and data unit (PDU) on Orion’s crew module adapter. The team is continuing with other closeout activities while troubleshooting the issue, including installation of temporary covers to ensure components are protected during ground processing and fit checks for bonded tile on the crew module side hatch. Following a resolution of the issue, NASA will transfer Orion from the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building to the Multi-Payload Processing Facility where the spacecraft will undergo fueling ahead of stacking with the launch abort system. Check back at this blog for an update and adjusted dates for Orion’s transfer.

Orion Test Article Ready to Make Another Splash for Artemis

The Orion spacecraft Structural Test Article (STA) completed its cross-country road trip Tuesday to NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia in preparation for a series of water impact tests at the center’s Landing and Impact Research Facility.

Data from the upcoming drop tests in 2021 will be used for final computer modeling for loads and structures prior to the Artemis II flight test, NASA’s first mission with crew. Artemis II will carry astronauts around the Moon and back, and will pave the way to land the first woman and next man on the lunar surface during Artemis III.

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Artemis I is Stacking Up

Engineers used one of five overhead cranes to lift the first booster segment of the Space Launch System rocket from the VAB’s High Bay 4 to the newly renovated High Bay 3. Image Credit: NASA/Cory Huston

NASA has stacked the first piece of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on the mobile launcher in preparation for the Artemis I launch next year. At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, engineers lowered the first of 10 segments into place Nov. 21 for the twin solid rocket boosters that will power the first flight of the agency’s new deep space rocket. Artemis I will be an uncrewed flight to test the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft as an integrated system ahead of crewed flights to the Moon with the Artemis program.

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NASA Prepares for Next Series of RS-25 Engine Tests for SLS Rocket

NASA installed a developmental RS-25 engine into the test stand at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. This engine will be used in an upcoming test series to gather data and evaluate new components for development and production of new RS-25 engines for future Artemis missions. The new RS-25s, built by Aerojet Rocketdyne, will use advanced manufacturing methods and provide increased thrust levels, while also lowering manufacturing costs.

Engineers Move Forward with SLS Green Run Testing, Valve Repair Complete

Over the weekend, engineers at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, successfully repaired a valve inside the core stage of the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The team designed an innovative tool to remove and replace the valve’s faulty clutch while the core stage remained in the B-2 test stand, and without removing the entire valve. Subsequent testing of the repaired valve confirmed that the system is operating as intended.

This week, the team is preparing for the seventh Green Run test, called the wet dress rehearsal, when the stage will be loaded with cryogenic, or super-cold, propellant for the first time. NASA is now targeting the week of Dec. 7 for the wet dress rehearsal and the week of Dec. 21 for the hot fire test. During the hot fire test, all four engines will fire to simulate the stage’s operation during launch. The Green Run test series is a comprehensive test of the rocket’s core stage before it launches Artemis missions to the Moon. NASA remains on track to launch Artemis I by November 2021.