NASA announces the SLS countdown rehearsal to be complete

A very heavy-lift expendable launch vehicle that has been in development by NASA Agency since the year 2011 is called the Space Launch System (shortened as SLS). The first launch is anticipated to occur no earlier than 23rd August of 2022 as of June 2022. After a recent countdown rehearsal, NASA administrators claim that the Space Launch System’s testing is complete, and they are now prepared to begin making final preparations for a launch that may happen as early as late August.

Following a 4th WDR (wet dress rehearsal) of the SLS at Launch Complex 39B facility, four days earlier, agency officials proclaimed the vehicle’s test campaign to be complete on June 24 in a briefing. There was a leak in a hydrogen bleed line, which caused the test to end at T-29 seconds, or around 20 seconds early.

Only 13 of the 128 scheduled “commanded functions” were not successfully accomplished during the countdown terminal phase, according to Phil Weber, who is the senior technical integration manager in charge of the NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems program, who said this during the briefing. According to him, the majority of those 13 had undergone testing, including retracting umbilical.

The hydraulic power units that the vehicle’s solid rocket boosters utilize to move their nozzles will be tested one more time at the launch pad as part of the remaining tests. John Blevins, the chief engineer at SLS, said, “The component is quite resilient, but the function is highly critical, so we would just like to spin that up.”

De-energizing ground power sources before disconnecting umbilicals were one of the other duties that were not put to the test in order to prevent any hydrogen leaks from starting a fire. The risk of ignition needs many failures, according to Weber, therefore he stated he wasn’t concerned about not testing that. He claimed that was the only set for which we had not received validation.

Jim Free, NASA’s associate administrator in charge of the exploration systems development, has agreed to the decision to end the WDR campaign. Before pressing to commit to a launch, Free stated in a briefing on June 15 that he thought NASA needed to “understand what every scenario is and run it to ground.”

Tom Whitmeyer, the common exploration systems development’s deputy associate administrator, said, “We did go through that with Jim and he did give us the get-ahead to proceed.

NASA intends to roll the movable launch platform transporting SLS back to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) on July 1st, assuming the weather cooperates. When the vehicle gets back in the VAB, personnel will spend many weeks getting it ready to go back to the launch pad for Artemis 1.

An inspection and repair of the quick-disconnect fitting on the core stage, which was the cause of the hydrogen leak in the latest WDR, are part of this operation. In that connector, where a Teflon seal has been present ever since the vehicle’s Green Run tests at the Stennis Space Center in 2020 and 2021, according to Weber, they will probably replace it. “We expect we’re going to move in and be able to change out those soft goods,” he said. “It’s had some run period on it, as well as a several trips to the pad.”

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