WASHINGTON — Simply days after NASA stated it was able to carry out a second static-fire check of the Area Launch System core stage, the company introduced Feb. 22 that the check can be delayed due to a valve downside.
NASA stated it was suspending the Inexperienced Run static-fire check, which had been scheduled for Feb. 25, after discovering an issue with one among eight valves known as “prevalves” related to the stage’s 4 RS-25 fundamental engines. The valve, which provides liquid oxygen, was “not working correctly,” NASA stated in an announcement, however didn’t elaborate on the issue.
Engineers recognized the issue throughout preparations over the weekend for the check. NASA stated it is going to work with Boeing, the prime contractor for the core stage, to “determine a path ahead within the days forward and reschedule the recent hearth check” however didn’t set a brand new date for the check.
This isn’t the primary time an issue with valves delayed Inexperienced Run testing of the core stage. In November, NASA reported an issue with a liquid hydrogen prevalve on the core stage, which required staff to design a particular device to restore the valve on the check stand. That, together with the results of a tropical storm that handed by the Stennis Area Heart in late October, delayed by a number of weeks the stage’s moist costume rehearsal, the place the stage is loaded with propellant and goes by means of a follow countdown.
The announcement of the newest delay got here simply three days after NASA and trade officers held a briefing the place they expressed confidence that they were ready to perform the static-fire test on Feb. 25. That included overcoming points related to latest winter storms and unseasonably chilly climate on the Mississippi check website.
“The staff has been working very arduous round some troublesome conditions. We’re on a reasonably good monitor to make the 25th,” stated John Shannon, vice chairman and SLS program supervisor at Boeing, throughout the briefing.
On the similar briefing NASA officers stated that they remained cautiously optimistic that SLS might make its first launch on the Artemis 1 mission, an uncrewed check flight of the Orion spacecraft, earlier than the top of the 12 months regardless of prolonged delays within the Inexperienced Run check marketing campaign. Tom Whitmeyer, deputy affiliate administrator for exploration techniques growth at NASA Headquarters, stated that the mission might launch as quickly as October if every little thing went effectively, then admitted that it was doubtless there can be issues alongside the best way.
“Initially, we actually have to get this hotfire behind us,” he stated, referring to the Inexperienced Run static-fire check. “That’s crucial factor we have now in entrance of us.”