NASA Targets Jan. 16 for SLS Moon Rocket ‘Green Run’ Hot Fire Test: Watch Live

NASA Targets Jan. 16 for SLS Moon Rocket ‘Green Run’ Hot Fire Test: Watch Live
The massive core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is in the B-2 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, for the core stage Green Run test series. NASA and Boeing, the core stage lead contractor, installed the stage into the test stand in January 2020. The core stage Green Run test series is an important step toward safely launching SLS and NASA’s Orion spacecraft beyond Earth’s orbit forward to the Moon for the agency’s Artemis program. The 212-foot-tall rocket stage — the largest stage the agency has ever produced — contains the cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tanks that will feed four RS-25 rocket engines, along with the vehicle’s avionics and flight computers. The comprehensive test campaign will validate the core stage design and ensure it’s ready for the first and future Artemis missions to the Moon.
Credits: NASA

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL –  NASA and Boeing managers announced they are targeting Saturday, Jan. 16 to carry out the long awaited and absolutely critical ‘Green Run’ hot fire test of the agency’s mammoth Space Launch System (SLS) core stage quartet of engines at the base of the mighty Moon rocket at the agency’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

NASA says the two-hour test window for the Green Run hot fire engine test opens at 5 p.m. EST Saturday, Jan. 16, for the hot fire test of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage at the agency’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

NASA and SLS core stage prime contractor Boeing confirmed the Jan. 16 test date at a media briefing today, Jan 12.

You can watch NASA’s live coverage of the hot fire that will begin at 4:20 p.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website

“#Artemis update: we are targeting a two-hour window starting at 5pm ET Sat., Jan. 16, for the Green Run hot fire test of the @NASA_SLS rocket.  Watch as engineers fire all four engines to simulate a launch. Live coverage to begin at 4:20pm ET on NASA TV,” NASA tweeted:

 

The hot fire is the eighth and final test of NASA’s Green Run series to ensure the core stage of the SLS rocket is ready to launch Artemis missions to the Moon, beginning with Artemis I – currently targeted for late 2021.

The hot fire test is planned to run full duration and simultaneously fire the four RS-25 engines for about 8 minutes or approximately 485 seconds on the B-2 test stand at  Stennis and generate about 1.6 million pounds of thrust – fueled by cryogenic, or supercold, liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid hydrogen (LH2) propellant fed into the fuel tanks from six  propellant barges.

8 minutes. 1.6 million pounds of thrust. 1 goal: To power the @NASA_SLS rocket.  Don’t miss the Green Run Hot Fire test Jan. 16, when we fire up 4 RS-25 engines simultaneously to test the core stage that will propel @NASAArtemis missions to the Moon,” NASA tweeted. 

They need at least for the test to run about 250 seconds to obtain sufficient data to proceed ahead.

Fully loading the propellant and detecting no leaks is a major milestone for the Green Run test series. A total of 114 tanker trucks delivered propellant to six propellant barges next to the B-2 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The barges deliver more than 733,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to the core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket as part of the seventh test in the Green Run test series. The wet dress rehearsal test marks the first time propellant is loaded and drained from the propellant tanks of the stage that will help power Artemis I. Six propellant barges send fuel through a special feed system and lines in the test stand to the rocket stage. Credits: NASA

If all goes well the core stage will be refurbished for a few weeks and then shipped by Pegasus barge in February to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center launch site.

The 212 foot long core stage includes the liquid hydrogen tank and liquid oxygen tank, four RS-25 engines, and the computers, electronics, and avionics that serve as the “brains” of the rocket.

Teams at NASA’s Stennis Space Center will perform the final test in the Green Run testing series for the core stage of the new Space Launch System Saturday, Jan. 16. This image shows liquid oxygen as it naturally boils off and is vented from the four RS-25 engines that will be fired during the final core stage test. Credits: NASA

During the test, engineers will power up all the core stage systems, load more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic, or supercold, liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid hydrogen (LH2) propellant into the tanks, and fire all four engines at the same time to simulate the stage’s operation during launch, generating 1.6 million pounds of thrust.

The LOX propellant load comprises about 200,000 gallons and the LH2 about 500,000 gallons

Teams at NASA’s Stennis Space Center will perform a hot fire test of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage on Jan. 16, 2021. This image shows liquid hydrogen being safely vented and burned as it naturally warms and boils off during a rehearsal of a countdown to hot fire of the stage’s engines on Dec 20, 2020. Credits: NASA

NASA has completed seven of the eight core stage Green Run tests, including loading and draining propellant for the first time during the most recent test, the wet dress rehearsal (WDR), on Dec. 20.

The core stage Green Run test series of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is currently underway. Crews installed the 212-foot-tall core stage — the same rocket hardware that will be used for the first Artemis mission to the Moon — in the B-2 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, for the core stage Green Run test series in January 2020. The comprehensive, eight-part test series, or run, will steadily bring the core stage flight hardware, or new, “green” hardware, to life for the first time. The test series cumulates with a “hot fire” as all four RS-25 engines fire simultaneously. The maximum thrust of the four RS-25 engines during launch and ascent is 2 million pounds. During Green Run testing in the B-2 Test Stand, the RS-25 engine thrust peaks at 1.6 million pounds, which is the maximum thrust the engines produce at sea level on the launch pad. The core stage design will be used for all configurations of the SLS rocket, and the series of eight tests will verify the stage is ready for the first and future Artemis lunar missions. This infographic will be updated with check marks in real time to indicate the progress NASA had made in testing the largest rocket stage the agency has manufactured since the Apollo Program that first sent astronauts to the Moon. Credit: NASA

During the upcoming hot fire test, all four RS-25 engines engines will fire to simulate the stage’s operation during launch.
NASA conducted the seventh test of the SLS core stage Green Run test series – the wet dress rehearsal – on Dec. 20 at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi and marked the first time cryogenic, or super cold, liquid propellant was fully loaded into, and drained from, the SLS core stage’s two immense tanks.

The wet dress rehearsal provided structural and environmental data, verified the stage’s cryogenic storage capabilities, demonstrated software with the stage’s flight computers and avionics, and conducted functional checks of all the stage’s systems.

The end of the test was automatically stopped a few minutes early due to timing on a valve closure. Subsequent analysis of the data determined the valve’s predicted closure was off by a fraction of a second, and the hardware, software, and stage controller all performed properly to stop the test. The team has corrected the timing and is ready to proceed with the final test of the Green Run series.

“During our wet dress rehearsal Green Run test, the core stage, the stage controller, and the Green Run software all performed flawlessly, and there were no leaks when the tanks were fully loaded and replenished for approximately two hours,” said Julie Bassler, SLS Stages manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, in a statement.

“Data from all the tests to date has given us the confidence to proceed with the hot fire.”

Video Caption: NASA completed the wet dress rehearsal, the seventh test of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage Green Run test series at the agency’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, on Dec. 20. During the test, 733,000 gallons filled the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tank. A key part of the test was to load the propellant and the replenish it to keep the tanks full as the gas naturally boils off. The mist around the stage in this video is actually the propellant boiling off during the test. The wet dress rehearsal test is one of the most extensive tests of the entire series and marks the first time that the rocket stage is filled and drained of liquid propellant. The next time the propellant tanks are filled, NASA will be moving toward Green Run hot fire testing. Credits: NASA

A post-test briefing will be held approximately two hours after the test concludes.

Watch this NASA video explaining the Green Run:

The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I will test the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft as an integrated system ahead of crewed flights to the Moon.

Under the Artemis program, NASA is working to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon in 2024.

NASA is working to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024.

SLS, and Orion, along with the human landing system and the Gateway in orbit around the Moon, are NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration. SLS is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts, and supplies to the Moon on a single mission.

Crews delivered the last of four RS-25 engines for Artemis 1, the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft, from NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, to NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans on June 27, 2019. The Aerojet Rocketdyne engines are lined up side-by-side on June 28 and will be installed into the SLS engine section Fall 2019. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The core stage – made up of the forward skirt, liquid oxygen tank, liquid hydrogen tank, and the engine section containing the rocket’s four RS-25 engines – is the final piece of the rocket that will be delivered to Kennedy ahead of the Artemis I launch.

 

Crews delivered the last of four RS-25 engines for Artemis 1, the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft, from NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, to NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans on June 27, 2019. The Aerojet Rocketdyne engines are lined up side-by-side on June 28 and will be installed into the SLS engine section Summer 2019. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

SLS is the most powerful rocket ever built.

The SLS core stage was built at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and is the largest rocket stage the agency has built since the Saturn V that sent Apollo astronauts to the Moon.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine gives remarks on the agency’s Artemis program, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, announcing assembly completion in front of the 1st core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) moon rocket at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The SLS core stage is currently in the test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi where it is being readied for the critical Green Run full duration hot fire test

Thereafter it will be transported to Kennedy by the Pegasus barge for integration with the SRB’s and Orion.

The core stage pathfinder mock-up for NASA’s Space Launch System megarocket was fully offloaded from NASA’s Pegasus barge on Sept. 30, 2019 after arriving at the turn basin Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sept. 27, 2019 – dramatically backdropped by the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) where it will be moved to for a month of critical lifting and stacking maneuvers inside. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

SLS and Orion will launch off Launch Complex-39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center which has been extensively upgraded to support the new Heavy Lift rocket.

 

Watch my live and complete ‘Stay Curious’ Dec 14 and Dec 30, 2020 shows on many human space topics:

 

Video Caption: Return and Resurgence of US Human Space Flight:   Learn about what’s new at the Cape with huge increase in launches including SpaceX Crew & Cargo Dragon and ULA Atlas & Delta IV Heavy launches and Holidays in Space as Space Journalists Dr. Ken Kremer and Jean Wright serve as co-hosts on ‘Stay Curious’ on the Dec. 14 edition hosted by American Space Museum and update you on the latest news from the Space Coast…all to bridge the space between us. Credit: Stay Curious/American Space Museum

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about NASA missions, SpaceX, Artemis, Starlink, Commercial Crew and Artemis and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Demo-2, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020, NRO spysats and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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NASA’s Pegasus barge, carrying the launch vehicle stage adapter (LVSA) for the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, arrives at the Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39 turn basin wharf on July 29, 2020 and docks near the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building where it will eventually be stacked on top of the SLS Core Stage. Traveling to Florida from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the LVSA will connect the SLS core stage to the rocket’s upper stage for the Artemis I launch in late 2021. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 

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Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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