NASA: SLS rocket engine shut down out of caution

The US space agency NASA declares the abandonment of the rocket propulsion test last weekend with its own caution. Deliberately conservative settings in the steering of the drives would have led to the termination. The rocket engines themselves ran without any problems and remained undamaged during the test.

NASA had tested four RS-25 engines of the planned Space Launch System (SLS) over the weekend as part of the preparations for the Artemis I mission. Instead of simulating the complete eight-minute rocket launch as planned, the Rateken drive switched off prematurely for the new NASA moon mission.

After an initial analysis, NASA blames the rocket drive system for the demolition. The engines must be flexible to control the rocket. However, the corresponding hydraulic system exceeded the preset limit values ​​during the test. This triggered the automatic shutdown.

NASA declares that they Deliberately cautious settings chosen for the missile test on the ground had to ensure the safety of the engines. In flight, the rocket would have continued on its way normally, as the thrust from the other engines would have been compensated.

The four RS-25 engines fired for a little more than one minute and generated 1.6 million pounds of thrust.

Four RS-25 rocket engines tested in January 2021

(Picture: NASA-TV)

Overall, NASA rates the drive test as a success. All four rocket engines would have worked as expected and achieved the full thrust required for the launch of the Artemis I rocket.

After further analysis of the data collected, NASA will decide whether a second rocket propulsion test is necessary. Then the parameters could be adjusted a little in order to avoid another premature shutdown.

Former space shuttle program leader Wayne Hale recommends NASA do another test to collect more data. That would take a few weeks, but the schedule is of secondary importance.


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