Tuesday, April 30, 2013

B-2 being prepped for SLS

Duel position B-1/B-2 stand.
NASA/SSC photo
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- Before NASA's new Space Launch System (SLS) flies to space on its inaugural mission in 2017, it will fly in place at Stennis Space Center, Miss. The B-2 Test Stand at Stennis, originally built to test the Saturn rocket stages that propelled humans to the Moon, is being renovated to test the SLS core stage in late 2016 and early 2017. When ready, the SLS stage, with four RS-25 rocket engines, will be installed on the stand for propellant fill and drain testing and two hot fire tests. The site's engineers spent 18 months assessing the cost of the work needed to upgrade the B-2 Test Stand from Apollo- and space shuttle-era testing specifications. After NASA made the decision to proceed, engineers began the first of three project phases. NASA is developing the SLS to send humans to asteroids and Mars. The SLS, once operational, will launch NASA's Orion spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The first test flight of SLS will be in 2017, when the rocket will send an unmanned Orion spacecraft around the Moon. (Sources: Astronomy, Space Fellowship, 04/29/13)