NASA was able to resume testing on its moon rocket after fixing an engine problem

Returning to the Moon is NASA’s goal with the Artemis program. The first flight of the new SLS rocket was expected in the near future with the Artemis I mission, but a controller problem with the RS-25 engine number 4 led the space agency to postpone this first launch.

Recently, the NASA team was able to start testing the engines again after replacing the faulty control mechanism. According to the information, the test results were satisfactory.

The RS-25 engines were manufactured by the Aerojet Rocketdyne company. This is the same technology that powered the now retired US space shuttles.

An unexpected failure

According to NASA, the latest tests showed that the 4 controllers that are installed on the 4 thrusters worked without problems. The control mechanism is actually an element that allows the engines to communicate with the rest of the rocket. It allows precise control and diagnosis of the internal state.

NASA engineers explained that the source of the problem was a faulty memory card. This is used during the controller boot sequence, but no longer affects the controller after this step.

During the checks, no problem had been detected on the three other engines of the rocket. There is thus no constraint on the dress rehearsal which will take place before the launch. However, it is the Artemis I mission which has been postponed and which will not take place before April.

What remains to be done before the launch

Currently, the various teams at the Kennedy Space Center are conducting a multitude of tests to prepare for takeoff. For example, there are the tests on the flight interruption system, but there is also the installation of the instrumentation at the level of the two side boosters.

According to the program, the general rehearsal will take place during the month of March on the launch pad 39B. The team will fuel the rocket and repeat all stages until the final countdown.

This rehearsal was designed to check the performance of the SLS rocket, that of the Orion capsule, but also that of the Kennedy Space Center ground system. It will only be after this dress rehearsal that we will know the launch date of the Artemis I mission.


Leave a Comment