NASA blames moon rocket engine shutdown on hydraulic system software

Getting a combined 1.6 million pounds of thrust, 4 hydrogen-fueled RS-25 engines fire during a ground test Saturday of the Space Launch System rockets first phase. The planned eight-minute test shooting ended 67.2 seconds after ignition due to software application keeping an eye on a hydraulic power system.

Clouds of steam erupt from the base of the B-2 test stand at NASAs Stennis Space Center in Mississippi as the four RS-25 engines throttle up to complete power, their exhaust vaporizing gushes of cooling water.

The “green run” test shooting was meant to last a full eight minutes, mirroring an actual climb to area. The engine start sequence went typically and all four RS-25s fired at full power for the very first minute of the trial run as planned.An engine steering test was prepared about one minute into the shooting, utilizing core phase auxiliary power systems, or CAPUs, to hydraulically press and pull the engine nozzles to various positions as required.But NASA stated in a blog site post that software application limits put in place for the ground firing were gone beyond and the rockets computer system dutifully ordered a shutdown. The test shooting lasted 67.2 seconds.

Engineers are still assessing the test results to determine if another hot-fire test is required at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi where the rocket remains in place atop a massive test stand.” The Space Launch System rocket will be the most powerful ever built, creating an incredible 8.8 million pounds of thrust at liftoff– 7.2 million pounds from 2 strap-on solid-fuel boosters and 1.6 million pounds from the 4 RS-25 engines at the base of the core stage.NASA supervisors had actually prepared to ship the Boeing-managed core stage to the Kennedy Space Center in February for a planned maiden flight before the end of the year to send out an unpiloted Orion crew capsule on a long test flight beyond the moon and back.

Engineers are still evaluating the test results to identify if another hot-fire test is required at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi where the rocket remains in location atop a huge test stand. It might even be possible, sources state, to perform a much shorter “flight preparedness shooting” at the Kennedy Space Center before launch on the Artemis moon programs very first flight.But “theres a distinction between what we can do at the launch pad and what we can do at the test stand, a huge difference,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine stated in an interview with Spaceflight Now. “But the question is, did we get enough information from what we just did to make people comfy that we can move forward with the launch?” Remember, the very first launch is uncrewed, so we can accept some danger here that we wouldnt generally accept. However we also need to keep in mind that if something goes incorrect, it sets us back substantially. There are a great deal of choices in front of us.” The Space Launch System rocket will be the most powerful ever built, creating an incredible 8.8 million pounds of thrust at liftoff– 7.2 million pounds from two strap-on solid-fuel boosters and 1.6 million pounds from the 4 RS-25 engines at the base of the core stage.NASA managers had prepared to deliver the Boeing-managed core stage to the Kennedy Space Center in February for a planned maiden flight before the end of the year to send an unpiloted Orion crew pill on a long test flight beyond the moon and back.

NASA

The engine start sequence went generally and all 4 RS-25s fired at complete power for the first minute of the test run as planned.An engine steering test was prepared about one minute into the firing, using core stage auxiliary power units, or CAPUs, to hydraulically press and pull the engine nozzles to different positions as required.But NASA stated in a blog post that software limits put in place for the ground shooting were exceeded and the rockets computer system dutifully purchased a shutdown.” During gimballing, the hydraulic system associated with the core phases power unit for engine 2, also known as engine E2056, went beyond the pre-set test limits that had been established,” NASA said.” The specific reasoning that stopped the test is distinct to the ground test when the core stage is installed in the B-2 test stand at Stennis.

NASA

Software application in location to keep an eye on hydraulic systems throughout a test firing of NASAs Space Launch System moon rocket was to blame for an early engine shutdown Saturday, not an actual problem with the boosters shuttle-heritage engines or its intricate propulsion system, NASA said Tuesday.

” During gimballing, the hydraulic system associated with the core stages power unit for engine 2, also understood as engine E2056, surpassed the pre-set test limitations that had actually been developed,” NASA said.” The specific reasoning that stopped the test is unique to the ground test when the core phase is installed in the B-2 test stand at Stennis.” The information is being evaluated as part of the procedure of settling the pre-set test limitations prior to the next use of the core phase,” the post stated.

Observers initially heard a get in touch with the control room audio channel describing an “MCF,” or significant part failure, on engine No. 4 just prior to the shutdown. That led observers so suspect engine No. 4 caused the abort.But NASA states the MCF call was the result of an instrumentation problem unrelated to the shutdown and that the control system still had “enough redundancy to ensure safe engine operation throughout the test.” Engineers anticipate to resolve the problem before the next use of the stage.During a post-test press conference Saturday, John Honeycutt, NASAs SLS program supervisor, said an unusual “flash” was observed at or near insulation blankets securing the user interface between the four engine nozzles and the base of the rocket. NASA says some charring appears, “but was prepared for due to their proximity to engine and CAPU exhaust.”” Data analysis is continuing to help the team determine if a 2nd hot fire test is required,” NASA stated. “The team can make slight adjustments to the thrust vector control criteria and prevent an automated shut down if they decide to carry out another test with the core phase mounted in the B-2 stand.”

All four of the Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 engines ran usually throughout the test and while an instrumentation glitch with engine No. 4 was called out near the end of the run, it was unrelated to the shutdown. NASA stated the huge rocket was not damaged and otherwise performed typically.

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