Thursday, May 14, 2020

NASA resumes SLS test work

NASA resumed Green Run testing activities this week on the first flight stage of its Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, with the return of limited crews to perform work at Stennis Space Center (SSC), Miss. Stennis moved to Stage 4 on March 20, with only personnel needed to perform mission-essential activities related to the safety and security of the center allowed on site. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and its Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, which are building SLS, also are in Stage 4. Re-establishing, or “waking up,” the SSC B-2 Test Stand systems in the days ahead includes restoring facility power and controls, as well as ensuring pressurized gas systems are at proper levels for SLS operators to proceed with testing activities. According to Julie Bassler, SLS stages project manager responsible for the core stage work at SSC, Michoud and Marshall, Marshall also is resuming critical flight software and hardware testing. SSC plans for 30 days of limited crew activity on site in anticipation of the center’s transition from Stage 4 to Stage 3. Once that transition occurs, increases to on-site work will continue slowly. The focus then will shift to preparing for the avionics power-up test – the next in a series of core stage Green Run testing milestones. According to Robinson, it’s too early to calculate a precise schedule for the various test milestones. Green Run represents the first top-to-bottom integrated test of all flight core stage systems prior to its maiden Artemis I flight. All testing will be conducted on the B-2 Test Stand in the coming months and will culminate with an eight-minute, full-duration hot fire of the core stage with its four RS-25 engines, as during an actual launch. (Source: NASA, 05/14/20)