Green Run Update: Test Team Gives “Go” To Proceed with Tanking

The test team conducted a pre-test briefing in the Test Control Center at the B test complex at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and gave a “go” to proceed with testing and to fill the propellant tanks.

Over the next several hours, the teams will monitor the systems and load more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic, or supercooled, liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen that will be fed to the four RS-25 engines.

The hot fire will last up to 8 minutes and is scheduled to take place during a two-hour window that begins at 5 p.m. EST. Live coverage will begin at 4:20 p.m. EST on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Learn more about Green Run, and check back at this blog for updates on the SLS core stage hot fire test.

SLS core stageThis infographic provides information on the core stage including its two large propellant tanks.

Green Run Update: Preparations for Hot Fire Test Continue on Schedule

Preparations for conducting the final Green Run test for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket are proceeding as planned, and the core stage is on schedule for a hot fire test tomorrow igniting all four of its RS-25 engines.

NASA is targeting a two-hour test window that opens at 5 p.m. EST Saturday, Jan.16, for the hot fire test at the agency’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Live coverage will begin at 4:20 p.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website, followed by a post-test briefing approximately two hours after the test concludes.

The hot fire is the eighth and final test of the Green Run series to ensure the core stage of the SLS rocket is ready to launch Artemis missions to the Moon, beginning with Artemis I. The core stage includes the liquid hydrogen tank and liquid oxygen tank, four RS-25 engines, and the computers, electronics, and avionics that serve as the “brains” of the rocket. During the test, engineers will power up all the core stage systems, load more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic, or supercold, propellant into the tanks, and fire all four engines at the same time to simulate the stage’s operation during launch, generating 1.6 million pounds of thrust.

Learn more about Green Run, and check back at this blog for updates on the SLS core stage hot fire test.

This video explains exactly how NASA and its partners, core stage lead contractor Boeing, and RS-engines lead contractor, Aerojet Rocketdyne are bringing each part of the core stage to life for the Green Run hot fire test.

Green Run Update: Start of Avionics Power Up for Hot Fire Test

The countdown is underway for the hot fire test with the core stage of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, scheduled for Jan. 16. Engineers have initiated power up of the avionics for the Artemis I core stage.

On Saturday, Jan.16, the management team will provide approval to proceed into the test, followed by a briefing for the test team in the Test Control Center at the B test complex.

Six barges filled with liquid hydrogen and oxygen will supply the propellant to the B-2 test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, where the Green Run tests are taking place. The engines use cryogenic, or supercooled, liquid hydrogen as fuel and liquid oxygen as oxidizer to create combustion.

To fill each of the six barges, three for liquid oxygen and three for liquid hydrogen, it required 18 to 20 tanker trucks worth of propellant. The barges are towed by tug from a fuel depot at Stennis to the B-2 stand.

Learn more about Green Run, and check back at this blog for updates on the SLS core stage hot fire test.

In this video, SLS Stages Manager Julie Bassler, describes avionics and flight software testing conducted in the Systems Integration Laboratory at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to support Green Run.

NASA Space Launch System Rocket Proceeding with Green Run Hot Fire

NASA is targeting the final test in the Green Run series, the hot fire, for as early as Jan.17. The hot fire is the culmination of the Green Run test series, an eight-part test campaign that gradually brings the core stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) — the deep space rocket that will power the agency’s next-generation human Moon missions — to life for the first time.

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SLS Team Completes Propellant Loading of Core Stage During Green Run Test

NASA and Boeing engineers successfully completed propellant loading during the seventh core stage Green Run test, wet dress rehearsal Sunday, Dec. 20. The massive Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s tanks were loaded with more than 700,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

Engineers working in the Test Control Center monitored all core stage systems during the test as propellant flowed from six barges into the core stage in the B-2 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. First looks at the data indicate the stage performed well during the propellant loading and replenish process. Part of the test was to simulate the countdown with the tanks loaded, leading up to 33 seconds prior to the engines firing. However, the test ended a few minutes short of the planned countdown duration.

The core stage and the B-2 test stand are in excellent condition, and it does not appear to be an issue with the hardware. The team is evaluating data to pinpoint the exact cause of the early shutdown. Then they will decide if they are ready to move forward with the final test, a hot fire when all four engines will be fired simultaneously.

For more updates, visit this blog or the Green Run web site: https://www.nasa.gov/artemisprogram/greenrun

Shiny Orion Simulator Arrives at Johnson for Training

NASA Astronauts Stephanie Wilson, Jonny Kim, and Randy Bresnik take a look at the Orion spacecraft simulator that recently arrived at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The simulator provides the ability for astronauts, engineers, and flight controllers to train and practice for scenarios during Artemis missions to the Moon. The interior of the simulator is being outfitted with Orion’s display and control system and crew seats to mimic what astronaut will experience during liftoff to the lunar vicinity and on their way back home to Earth.

Kim and Wilson are among the 18 astronauts recently named to the Artemis Team of astronauts eligible to be selected for Artemis missions to the Moon. Bresnik is currently the assistant to the chief of the astronaut office for exploration. NASA is targeting 2023 for Artemis II, the first mission with crew, with the Orion Spacecraft set to launch atop the agency’s Space Launch System rocket. The mission will send astronauts around the Moon and return them back to Earth, a flight that will set the stage for the first woman and next man to step foot on the Moon in 2024.

Artemis I Orion Progress Update

During final assembly of the Orion spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, engineers identified an issue with a redundant channel on one of the spacecraft’s Power and Data Unit (PDU) communication cards. Orion has a total of eight PDUs, each of which has two cards with two redundant channels on each card that help provide communication between Orion’s flight computers to its components.

As a spacecraft designed to carry humans to deep space, Orion is built with significantly more redundancy to protect against failures than a robotic spacecraft. The PDU is still fully functional and will use its primary channel during the Artemis I mission, which is a non-crewed test flight.

During their troubleshooting, engineers evaluated the option to “use as is” with the high-degree of available redundancy or remove and replace the box. They determined that due to the limited accessibility to this particular box, the degree of intrusiveness to the overall spacecraft systems, and other factors, the risk of collateral damage outweighed the risk associated with the loss of one leg of redundancy in a highly redundant system.  Therefore, NASA has made the decision to proceed with vehicle processing.

NASA has confidence in the health of the overall power and data system, which has been through thousands of hours of powered operations and testing. Engineers will perform additional testing and continue to monitor the health of the spacecraft while Orion is powered on to provide continued confidence in the system.

NASA will proceed with spacecraft processing, and engineers are currently completing final closeout activities and will transfer the spacecraft in mid-January from the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Facility to the Multi-Payload Processing Facility for fueling and preparation for integration with the Space Launch System rocket. The new timeline does not impact the launch schedule, and NASA remains on track for a launch in November 2021.

Check back at this blog for more updates as Orion prepares for its transition from assembly to launch operations.

NASA, UN Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Peaceful Uses of Space

NASA and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) pledging cooperation in areas of science and technology to support the peaceful use of outer space.

The MOU, signed Thursday, Dec. 17, brings together NASA’s wealth of publicly available Earth observation data and dynamic exploration opportunities with UNOOSA’s unique position as the only U.N. entity dedicated to outer space affairs.

Through this cooperation, UNOOSA and NASA will develop ways to leverage NASA’s Artemis program as part of UNOOSA’s Access to Space for All Initiative, which offers opportunities for international researchers and institutions to take part in this unprecedented journey of discovery.

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SLS Green Run Team Powers Up Core Stage for Wet Dress Rehearsal

NASA and Boeing engineers have powered up the Space Launch System rocket core stage to continue with the seventh test, wet dress rehearsal at the agency’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The NASA and Boeing team plan to fully load the stage’s liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tanks this week. This test demonstrates the ability to load the core stage with cryogenic propellant.

 

Following a partial loading of the tanks earlier this month, the team is now resuming the seventh of the eight tests in the Green Run series being completed with the Artemis I core stage. Upon completion of the wet dress rehearsal, the team will spend a few days analyzing data to determine if NASA is ready to proceed with the final Green Run test: the hot fire when all four engines will ignite simulating the countdown and launch of the Artemis I mission.

 

NASA will set a date for the hot fire after the wet dress rehearsal is complete. For an update at the conclusion of wet dress rehearsal, check back at this blog or visit the Green Run web site: https://www.nasa.gov/artemisprogram/greenrun

NASA, Canadian Space Agency Formalize Gateway Partnership for Artemis Program

NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) finalized an agreement between the United States and Canada to collaborate on the Gateway, an outpost orbiting the Moon that will provide vital support for a sustainable, long-term return of astronauts to the lunar surface as part of NASA’s Artemis program. This Gateway agreement further solidifies the broad effort by the United States to engage international partners in sustainable lunar exploration as part of the Artemis program and to demonstrate technologies needed for human missions to Mars.

Under this agreement, CSA will provide the Gateway’s external robotics system, including a next-generation robotic arm, known as Canadarm3. CSA also will provide robotic interfaces for Gateway modules, which will enable payload installation including that of the first two scientific instruments aboard the Gateway. The agreement also marks NASA’s commitment to provide two crew opportunities for Canadian astronauts on Artemis missions, one to the Gateway and one on Artemis II.

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