NASA planning to fire up an SLS rocket engine today at Stennis Space Center

Today Aerojet Rocketdyne’s plans to fire up an RS-25 engine at Stennis Space Center’s A1 test stand for another static fire test.

SLS: Green Run engine test ends early, likely pushing back first Artemis Moon mission [Gallery]

NASA is returning astronauts to the Moon for the first time since the Apollo program ended in the 1970s, but first the space agency must develop a new rocket capable of reaching lunar orbit. Space Launch System is that rocket, and it’s been in development for several years.

Over the weekend, NASA’s Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi conducted a critical engine test on the core stage of Space Launch System and its four RS-25 engines. While these engines aren’t new — they actually date back to use on the space shuttle — but being configured on a rocket to the Moon is untested.

The epic engine test wasn’t a total success, however, as the vehicle detected an anomaly and stopped firing its engines well before the required test duration. The good news is NASA says both the rocket core stage and its engines remain in good shape.

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Joe Biden was ‘indebted’ to Stennis in 1985, now he should rename NASA’s space center in Mississippi

Joe Biden will become the next President of the United States on January 20, and the space community has questions. What does the new administration have planned for NASA’s Artemis program, how will the new commander-in-chief direct the U.S. Space Force, and will the Trump-revived National Space Council continue?

Another question to ask is how will a President Biden approach revisiting government facilities named after those with whom we do not share values. Biden will preside over renaming 10 military bases named after Confederate generals. This change gained bipartisan in Congress at the end of last year. What did not gain bipartisan support in 2020 is support for renaming NASA’s Stennis Space Center.

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SLS: NASA proceeding with wet dress rehearsal next week after fuel temperature paused test

NASA is preparing to send the first woman and next man to the Moon in this decade with the Artemis program. Our return to the Moon won’t be like the Apollo program, however, as NASA wants to return in a sustainable fashion: lunar orbit station called gateway, Moon base called Artemis Base Camp, and international partnerships.

The agency briefly paused a critical step in testing the core stage of its new Space Launch System rocket at Stennis Space Center this week. NASA now says it will resume what’s called the wet dress rehearsal test next week. Launching NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and sending the Orion spacecraft around the Moon next year on the Artemis I mission is key to pushing forward with the Artemis program.

The team at the space center in South Mississippi briefly suspended fueling the rocket core stage on Monday after liquid oxygen temperature readings outside of the expected range were detected. Officials described the issue as operational and not caused by the rocket core stage. Now the team believes it has readjusted its fueling procedure to hit the target LOX delivery temperature.

Here’s the latest from NASA’s Artemis blog:

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SLS core stage wet dress rehearsal paused for ‘days’ to adjust propellant loading procedure

NASA hopes to conduct a critical hot fire test of the core stage of its Space Launch System rocket at Stennis Space Center later this month. The test is the last major step in developing NASA’s new powerful rocket to the Moon. If all goes well this month, NASA will be on track to conduct its first lunar flyby mission called Artemis I with SLS and the Orion spacecraft as early as November 2021.

It’s too early to know if NASA will have to kick back the hot fire test into next year, but a scheduled wet dress rehearsal that started over the weekend was paused on Monday after initial propellant loading to the rocket. NASA says the team at Stennis Space Center will now study data collected during initial propellant loading and adjust the fueling process before completing the wet dress rehearsal.

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NASA is GO for Space Launch System Wet Dress Rehearsal at Stennis Space Center

NASA conducted a readiness review from the teams at Stennis Space Center before the long-awaited Green Run Wet Dress Rehearsal (WDR) for Space Launch System’s core stage. The teams are all “Go” to begin the seventh and final test before teams ignite the four RS-25 engines (former Space Shuttle main engines) for a full duration burn strapped into the B-2 test stand in South Mississippi near Interstate-10 and the Louisiana state line.

Ultimately, the Wet Dress Rehearsal marks one of a few preliminary steps remaining before NASA launches its Artemis I mission in November 2021. Artemis I will be the first flight of Space Launch System, in which NASA’s new rocket sends its Orion spacecraft around the Moon for a lunar flyby mission. Artemis II will introduce astronauts to the lunar flyby route, and Artemis III will deliver the first woman and next man to the Moon.

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Massive week for NASA’s Space Launch System as launch preparations and testing underway

We’ve seen much of the journey to NASA’s first Artemis mission take place at Stennis Space Center and Michoud Assembly Facility in Mississippi and Louisiana, respectively. This week we get to see the first piece of SLS hardware begin stacking at Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of the big launch around the Moon next year.

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NASA is returning to the Moon, but first a key component of its rocket must pass these tests

October 5: Six of eight steps have been completed. NASA plans to conduct the final step, an 8-minute long hot fire test, in November.

October 13: Boeing is tentatively planning the hot fire test for November 14.

Just north of Interstate I-10 along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi is a gigantic, orange core stage that will soon be used to send NASA’s most powerful rocket ever to the Moon. The 212-foot-tall core stage of Space Launch System, the vehicle for Artemis lunar missions starting next year, is currently hoisted up on the red, white, and meatball’d B-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center.

Engineers at the space center in south Mississippi are responsible for ensuring that the giant fuel tank and RS-25 engines are ready for action before being transferred to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Steps range from testing flight electronics to loading and draining 350 tons of rocket fuel.

The ultimate step in the Green Run test is to fire up the four Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 engines fueled by the core stage. The static fire test will occur for up to eight minutes, creating a thunderous roar as the SLS core stage is held down by the B-2 Test Stand. Make no mistake: This engine test fire will be epic.

So how far along is NASA’s Green Run test for the Space Launch System core stage? Follow along here as NASA completes each step of the Green Run test:

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Stennis Space Center closed ahead of Hurricane Sally, SLS core stage and test stand secured

NASA has closed its space center in Mississippi and secured a critical piece of Moon-bound rocket hardware ahead of Hurricane Sally’s impact on the Gulf Coast this week. Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi is home to the B-2 Test Stand where NASA engineers have been busy testing the rocket core stage for Space Launch System.

Hurricane Sally is expected to make landfall as a Category 2 hurricane (96-110 mph wind speeds) Tuesday night before weakening to a tropical storm on Wednesday. The current trajectory shows Stennis Space Center directly in the storm’s path.

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NASA holding listening dialogues over Stennis Space Center name as political opposition mounts

In a moment when the nation is rethinking how we memorialize historical figures who represent different values than our society today, an important NASA facility located in Mississippi is receiving national attention over its name.

Stennis Space Center is a NASA engine test facility located just north of Interstate I-10 in Hancock County, Mississippi. The NASA site is 39 miles east of NASA’s neighboring Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s not uncommon for engineers and project managers from nearby Slidell, Louisiana, to work at the Mississippi test facility.

The NASA site takes its name from the late Senator John Cornelius Stennis, a celebrated U.S. senator from Mississippi who served in Congress for over 41 years. Mr. Stennis can be described as a proponent of racial segregation based on the senator’s statements and voting record on civil rights policy while in office.

The issue of Stennis Space Center’s name has since been raised to NASA leadership. Today, the possibility of a new name is considered possible, but opposition from statewide and national leadership could be a roadblock.

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