back to article NASA's Artemis rocket makers explain that it's a marathon and a sprint

NASA's Space Launch System might look like a mishmash of heritage Space Shuttle parts but it's all new hardware, and the team who built the twin boosters and engines have been talking about the challenges of bringing designs from the 1970s into a lunar future. Northrop Grumman is the company behind the boosters used by the SLS …

  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Covered in ... ?

    > it's a marathon and a sprint

    So a cross between the old-named Snickers bar and a knock-off KitKat?

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      Re: Covered in ... ?

      As someone who worked for NASA at one time, it's disappointing to hear the design is predicated on "eating your seed corn", as the farmers around where I live would say.

      1. druck Silver badge

        Re: Covered in ... ?

        So the boosters become expendable. Or go out in a blaze of glory. "It's just great to see them used in this manner," said Hurley

        "We've got 16 total engines from the Shuttle program," he explained, "so we can get to Artemis IV."

        I'd go a bit stronger than eating your own seed corn, to destroy these reusable parts which have been used on multiple Shuttle missions for one flight of a big dumb booster is verging on criminal. It's progress with its foot flat to the floor - in reverse gear.

    2. AdamWill Silver badge

      Re: Covered in ... ?

      ...not to mention that they seem to be three laps behind SpaceX in both. Perhaps they could try the triple jump or something?

  2. John Robson Silver badge

    Not all new

    All the liquid engines are old hardware, some of the booster segments are (partly) old hardware.

    The tank might be different, but it's very similar.

    The engine mounts and plumbing are new I suppose

    1. UCAP Silver badge

      Re: Not all new

      It is very rare for NASA, ESA or any other space agency to use a completely new and untried system, whether it is for a launcher, satellite or anything else. Instead they will commonly use a tried-and-tested core with new components sort of layered on top. At the next iteration, those new components now become tried-and-tested, and something newer is then used. Rinse and repeat.

      Of course, using tried-and-tested can backfire spectacularly - the first launch of the Ariane-5 is a case to point. But that is more the exception than the rule.

      Answer to the question: "What can go wrong?" ====>

      1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

        Re: Not all new

        The benefits vs disadvantages of using "tried and true" components in a complex machine are obvious, so long as that machine is a pure machine.

        If the machine is "impure", that is, uses electronic or computerized control systems, it's much-less obvious, because the number if possible mal-interactions dramatically rises.

    2. Jay 2

      Re: Not all new

      I guess it's the new bits that are causing problems as the old stuff seemed to be OK on the Shuttle :)

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Not all new

        Not exactly, shuttle featured an average of about 1.6 scrubs per launch, many of them down to problems in the HydroLOX fueling systems. SLS simply hasn't fixed any of them.

      2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Not all new

        The old bits were problematic too: the shuttle averaged nearly two scrubs per launch. As Lori Garver (former Deputy Administrator of NASA) said:

        "They took finicky, expensive programs that couldn't fly very often, stacked them together differently, and said now, all of a sudden, it's going to be cheap and easy. Yeah, we've flown them before, but they've proven to be problematic and challenging. This is one of the things that boggled my mind. What about it was going to change? I attribute it to this sort of group think, the contractors and the self-licking ice cream cone."

        The other fun quote was the reduced price of RS-25 engines. Aerojet Rocketdyne got contracts to restart production, modify to for single use and modify to reduce price. The total for those contracts is $3.5B for 24 new engines. Compare that to the original 46 Space shuttle engines for $40M each. This is what happens when congress requires NASA to buy from a specific supplier.

  3. jollyboyspecial Bronze badge

    "Last week's planned launch was scrubbed after problems during fueling, and a second attempt went south on Saturday after yet another fuel leak."

    Last week's failure was due to a temperature issue (probably a sensor failure) nothing to do with a fuel leak. So how is saturday's failure "yet another fuel leak"?

    1. awavey

      The sensor issue was the item that finally forced them to scrub the first launch attempt there had been hydrogen leaks earlier during that countdown, and as there had been during wet dress rehearsals at various stages, because yes the connecter/quick disconnect fuelling link is brand new equipment even if its an old technology concept and getting everything to synch and seat properly takes time to tweak

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      Pretty much every time they've fueled this rocket there's been leaks of some description. A lot of times they could fix things with a temperature cycle or just waiting for temperatures to equalize over the coupling, but that didn't work this time.

  4. Lordrobot

    Nelson should be Scrubbed...

    "We'll go when it's ready. We don't go until then, and especially now on a test flight," Nelson said in televised comments after the scrub. "This is part of the space business."

    Well, there you have it... from the mouth of the Deliverance Kid all growed up... He uses more contractions than Mamma Grisley. But AT LEAST NOW he admits this is a TEST FLIGHT. All the hype of last week was "Murica is Back to the Moon!" Now after two scrubs and the silent scrubs of Sept 5 and 6th... and Sept 19th, "A TEST FLIGHT will launch sometime in late October. UNLESS IT GETS SCRUBBED... Delays and overbudget... hallmarks of GOV running any business. Meanwhile those bloody Chinese launched a spy satellite last night. How do we know it is a spy satellite? That's the goto mantra of the NSA for anything CHINER does... Remember the Huawei dumb switches in Nebraska watching over MURICAN NUKE SILOS... "Them CHINESERS are going to know the second we launch... Them switches ain't there for nuff'in!

    Oh and BTW congratulation to PM Liz Truss, everyone's jilted girlfriend. [Can we say that? I don't know, maybe it's just me but her facial expressions always look like the woman who has just learned about the other woman. As if it has happened to her oh, a dozen times previous. ] After watching the Trump administration she has eliminated all males from leadership positions in the UK. And I say bravo to that. Theresa May didn't know men like the JILTED ONE. Congratulation due; I digress.

    There are a number of great writers that have repeated the oft-swaged and hammered-home wisdom that you can never go home again...

    Remember the CHIMP in space? He was transferred to The National Zoo in 1963, where he lived alone for 17 years, before finally being sent to the North Carolina Zoo where he could live with other chimps. He died 22 years after his historic flight into space, on January 18, 1983, at the estimated age of 26. I wonder what Bill Nelson thinks about this? The little Chimp's life was basically scrubbed by NASA.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nelson should be Scrubbed...

      Is this Bobs PFY?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nelson should be Scrubbed...

      I'm not sure if the old moderatrix was just sterner, or if troll posting has just become so deeply ingrained in the brain that people can't get a paragraph out without a sharp detour into OT politics and toxic borderline race baiting, but I miss when people were talking about the articles and taking light jabs at each other instead of SEO boosting toxic shitposts spreading pathological ideologies.

      Now we are left with the new sport of watching different nation-states shills joust with people who let their political brainworms get the better of the meds for the day. I miss the charming word salad of amanfrommars, at least his dictionary wasn't edited together from posts scrapped off 4chan.

  5. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Marathon and a sprint

    One leg longer than the other?

  6. WonkoTheSane

    Follow the money

    "Big Aerospace" need Artemis-1 to either launch or RUD, so they can bill NASA another few billion for Artemis-2.

  7. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    What's in a Name?

    When I saw "SLS" in the title of the first article in this series, I thought of the old distro, "Softlanding Linux Systems".

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