A faulty memory chip has caused a problem last year with NASA’s next Space To throw System megarocket – a problem the space agency says is now resolved.
A wet dress rehearsal seems closer than ever a series of successful tests conducted on the four flight controllers of the RS-25 engine, according to a NASA Release. In December 2021 one of these flight controllers started misbehaving, but the replacement unit, along with the pre-existing motor controllers, now seem to work fine. With the problem seemingly solved, NASA can now focus on the final closings as it prepares for the 332-foot-tall (101-meter) rocket’s maiden launch, a mission known as Artemis 1.
“All four motor controllers worked as expected when powered up,” according to the Statement from NASA. Aerojet Rocketdyne, the developer of the RS-25 engine, worked with the space agency to fix the problem and help with recently concluded tests. The 5.75 million pounds The rocket is currently undergoing integrated testing inside NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building in Florida.
The number four engine flight controller had to be replaced after slipped at the end of last year. These devices communicate with rocket to provide precision control and report on the health of each RS-25 engine, which dates back to the Space Shut program.
NASA traced the cause of the malfunction to a faulty memory chip. This chip is only needed during the controller’s boot sequence, and it has no impact on controller operations outside of this function alone, according to NASA. No problems with the other three memory chips were detected, which is a very positive sign.
The controller issue has forced NASA to delay the highly anticipated dress rehearsal, during which the rocket will be deployed to Launch Pad 39B and filled with propellant. That said, NASA recently admitted that the sheer volume testing is also responsible for delays. A wetsuit rehearsal was originally scheduled for late January, then early February, with final word that it could take place in March.
Next steps include pre-flight diagnostics and final hardware closeouts, such as testing with the flight termination system and the last-careful installations on the two solid rocket boosters. The wet dress rehearsal, in addition to being a training session, will provide NASA with important data to assess overall system performance. NASA will set a launch date for Artemis 1 after a successful wet dress rehearsal. An April launch isn’t out of the question, but we’ll refrain from making any firm predictions.
SLS is a big deal for NASA, as it will enable the upcoming Artemis missions to the Moon and Mars. When completed, it will be the most powerful rocket in the world…at least until SpaceX launches its Ship fully stackedwhich should also increase Later this year.
Continued: An encouraging image from the Webb Telescope shows a single star in a familiar pattern.