NASA’s key rocket test failed. This test flight is an important inspection site of the Artemis program


Sina science and technology news on the morning of January 18, according to reports, on Saturday, NASA conducted a key rocket test. The test, which was originally planned to start for about eight minutes, ended in failure one minute after it started. The test flight is an important inspection site for NASA’s long delayed space launch system. The space launch system will play a key role in NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to get astronauts back to the moon.
In the rocket test on that day, the four rocket engines in SLS core only started for a little more than a minute on NASA rocket test bench. The original plan of the crew was to ignite for about 8 minutes and undertake a lunar mission in the future.
Contrary to plan, about a minute after NASA began testing, staff heard a voice saying, “we did have a MCF (major component failure) on the No. 4 engine,” NASA SLS program manager John Honeycutt said at a news conference. They believe the problem occurred near the thermal insulation around the engine, but the exact cause of the launch failure is unclear.
NASA said in a blog post that it was the flight software that caused the test failure. “At this point, launch testing is fully automated,” NASA said in a statement. During the launch, the onboard software took appropriate action and started the safe shutdown of the engine. ”
Boeing SLS project manager John Shannon said at a news conference earlier last week that the engineering team wanted to get at least 250 seconds of heat testing. “For whatever reason, if we finish early, we can get all the engineering data we need in about 250 seconds, which gives us a lot of confidence in the aircraft,” Shannon said In the meantime, they plan to let the engine through a series of maneuvers to test its responsiveness to ignition.
So far, it seems that the data they get is far less than the 250 seconds they want. The data the team managed to obtain was collected by about 1400 sensors during the test. Among them, the sensor will monitor the core vibration frequency, temperature, acoustics and pressure data. Although the flight test time has been shortened, these sensors also collect a lot of data, which may eventually help NASA determine the way forward.
“Not everything went according to today’s plan, but we got a lot of important data,” NASA director Jim bridenstine said at a news conference after the event. I have absolute confidence in the team, they will find the problem, find the solution, and then continue to work hard. ”
The SLS project has existed for many years and was originally scheduled for its first flight in 2017. However, the project has been delayed, and the cost of the project is far beyond budget. Previously, NASA delayed the launch of the rocket to November 2021. Although its test plan was postponed in December 2020, NASA still hopes to launch the rocket in November 2021.
The rocket tested that day is part of the first rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, an unmanned mission called artemis-1 to send NASA’s Orion spacecraft to the moon. It is not clear what led to the failure of the test, and how the test results will affect the future schedule of Artemis I.
“It depends on what the anomaly is and how challenging it is to fix it,” Mr bridenstein said. We still need to learn a lot to make this clear. I think it is likely to be an easy problem to solve and we are confident to complete our plan. Of course, we also need to take time to meet the challenges. “