Political Commentary, Space, Technology and Society The SLS Green Run January 19, 2021 Rand Simberg 15 Comments Yes, I have trouble believing they won’t redo it, particularly now that the schedule pressure for 2024 is gone.
15 thoughts on “The SLS Green Run”
The post test press conference was kind of obnoxious – if you were playing the “this is why we test” drinking game, you’d need a new liver. I give Jim a pass, though – this was his swan song and he did a good job as administrator despite the constant side effects of Trump Derangement Syndrome thrown his way. I think even the Marxist lesbian planetary scientist Sarah Horst was pleasantly surprised.
I will bet they have to redo it because, beyond the risk of an SLS failure during launch, will be the risk of having such a failure blamed on poor management and incomplete testing.
It is a little surprising they will run the test again so soon.
It’s surprising for NASA, but there is no reason not to, based on the reasons it shut down early. If they’re trying to emulate SpaceX in terms of ability to turn around after a test, I have no problem with that.
Yup, how many times did SpaceX fuel and un-fuel today? Or is it tank and de-tank?
Maybe I should have said it was a pleasant surprise that NASA was going to test again so soon.
Apparently, the data point that they couldn’t keep the whole shebang running long enough after all these years to get to orbit isn’t important. What could possibly go wrong if they just extrapolate everything for the full time?
They’ve already begun stacking of the SRBs and the aft segments have been vertical since early January. They can only be vertical for a year before the propellant has sagged out of tolerance and the boosters need to be disassembled and the segments sent back to Utah for reprocessing. There is basically no way they can re-run this test and still launch within the year. If they don’t stop stacking the SRBs and get the segments horizontal again in a matter of weeks, they most likely won’t, and they’ll either push forward to launch no matter what, or the delay will extend another year as they wait for the next pair of SRBs in line.
So in one case, there’s a high chance that the core stage will end up on the bottom of the ocean, but in the other case, there’s a high chance that the core stage will end up on the bottom of the ocean.
Really, they’re just choosing between further delay, an unmanned test of Orion, or an abort test of Orion.
There’s also a significant chance that the SLS core stage won’t end up on the bottom of the ocean.
By my calculations, it’d take SLS a full 17 seconds of powered flight to clear the surfline.
How many pieces count?
That’s a very good question. I recall the Antares/Cignus launch from Wallops Island, VA; the vehicle stayed in one piece while performing an unscheduled (though successful) RTLS. It was still in one piece when it hit the launchpad. A few moments later, that was not the case, but for the flight, it was on one piece.
So, if SLS Artimis 1 lands just past the surfline at the cape, does it need to do so in one piece, or not? Does Orion heading off separately pre-impact count? I heard the LAS won’t be armed, so there’s a good chance Orion will successfully remain attached to all or part of SLS for the splashdown.
If SLS lands on both sides of the surfline (having achieved multiple divergent trajectories while in flight) how do we determine where most of it landed? Will it be by number of parts, or their cumulative mass? And what is the exact surfline threshold here; high tide, low tide, or where the mean water level on the beach is when SLS launches? Is it a successful flight if most of SLS lands just past the breakers, or merely some of it?
Success, after all, is most easily achieved via carefully defining success.
I do not thing pieces count but Pisces killed maybe. On the other hand, I think exact position of circular depression should be the main determinant. If that depression is on the land/water interface, we could call it a beach down. If it happens on a clear day, the correct terminology ought to be either a sunny beach down, or if describing the exact topology of the landing site, the sunny beach is down.
The thing that blew my mind was hearing that it can only do prop load what? 9 times? Having been on launch campaigns of new vehicles, that seems completely insane. Is it a hydrogen thing?
If SLS launches from 39B and crashes on 39A, destroying it, then Boeing will be the only US manned spaceflight provider (assuming Starliner is working by then). Win-win!
I suppose SpaceX could land an F9 from SLC-40 in the middle of the crawlerway to 39B, creating a sort of toll booth….
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