NASA is hopeful that its upcoming Green Run test for the Space Launch System capsule becomes a success. This launch comes amidst weather-related postponement making the agency hope that next year will be safe for the tests.
NASA paused its operations on the SLS capsule at the Stennis Space Center after receiving an update of the Gulf of Mexico’s upcoming tropical storms. The anticipated storm will grow into a hurricane before spreading through to the border between Texas and Louisiana. The weather updates reveal that there is a certainty of heavy rains spreading through to the Stennis Center.
NASA’s assistant administrator for space explorations and technical aspects, Kathy Lueders, stated that the engineers and technicians were conducting trials of the thrust controllers and observations on the engines’ performance. She stated this at the AIAA Propulsion and Energy webinar conference. These trials were preparing the facility to start the Green Run tests in which the liquefied hydrogen and oxygen propellant capacity to run the spacecraft would be checked.
Kathy articulated that they are ready for pretests this coming September in preparation for the Green Run campaign’s preliminary tests slated for the latest October.
Lueders stated that if all goes well as planned, then the complete capsule will be reaching the Kennedy Space Center early next year for the upcoming Artemis-1 mission next year. In another virtual meeting, Lueders admitted that they would be extending the launch window of this mission to ensure all operations reach a climax.
Lueders revealed that the other challenge they are facing is their suppliers’ capability to meet the set targets within the stated timeframe. She said that they were hoping for an upscale production before the coronavirus outbreak overwhelmed the supply chain’s operations. The reduced number of engineers to cut down the budget has resulted in a long time when the suppliers meet the targets.
Lueders admits that the demand-supply problem is because of the rise in need for spacecraft components by numerous companies. She added that the various companies are pressuring the limited resources from the supply base, which also have limited workers.
Lueders revealed that they are also experiencing problems in the design of lunar dockers for the Artemis missions in the Human Landing System project. Technically, Dynetics, Blue Origin, and SpaceX are proceeding with their operations to advance the HLS mission. She stated that NASA’s operations are far ahead of these firms hence limited progress.
Finally, the agency’s primary concern is financial support, where NASA hopes that the HLS can attract $3.3 billion to resume its operations at an explosive speed. However, the Senate is renegotiating terms in the HLS bill to appropriate any funds to the project. Nevertheless, Lueders stated that they are ready to overcome all the challenges and achieve their goals.