back to article NASA to live-stream SLS rocket fuel leak repair test

NASA will televise a test on Wednesday to confirm whether a repair made to its Space Launch System (SLS) rocket has fixed the hydrogen leak that forced officials to scrub a previous launch attempt. The super heavy launch vehicle has yet to leave the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida since it was first rolled out …

  1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Orion's first orbital flight

    Orion has been waiting a long time for SLS. It first went to orbit in 2014 on a Delta IV Heavy. No muppets were harmed in that flight.

  2. imanidiot Silver badge

    Pointless rocket is pointless

    I can't help but agree with what I've heard others in the know on the whole SLS program say, that the best outcome is for this thing to RUD on the pad without anyone nearby to hurt them and finally show what a pointless and stupid program SLS is. Maybe then the US will finally get a proper launcher after Apollo/Saturn.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Pointless rocket is pointless

      The next ⅓ is Starship going somewhere. Ship 24 has got as far as a full static test fire. Booster 7 did a 7/33 engine test fire and is going back to the shop for some additional work - probably shrouds around each engine so one failure does not damage its neighbours. Booster 8 is going out to the launch with no engines for cryo-proofing. The next three big milestones are a 33 engine static test fire, a wet dress rehearsal and a launch license (for an actual launch - they already have the programmatic environmental impact assessment.)

      The final ⅓ is comparative costs and cadences reaching mainstream news - not just tech sites like this.

  3. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Quick fix

    Feels like a dog chasing its tail ...

    They've been working on the system and (presumably) thoroughly testing hydrogen quick disconnect seal designs and subassemblies for years, yet a fix to a major issue which has been on-going for years (initially with Shuttle) will only take a month?

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Quick fix

      There is something that I have not seen follow up on yet. The hydrogen pressure spiked during the last launch attempt. This could have damaged the seals and caused the leak. Replacing the seals is part of the solution. The other part is procedural: filling up with liquid hydrogen without causing a pressure spike. That is something they could only work on after getting a complete rocket on the launch pad and discovering the problem.

      A quick fix for this specific problem is reasonable now because they finally have the tools in place. On the other hand, with this fix complete NASA may be ready to discover the next problem.

      1. iron Silver badge

        Re: Quick fix

        This is Shuttle tech - shuttle engines, shuttle tanks, shuttle fuel.

        If they didn't perfect the procedure in the 80s & 90s they are not about to perfect it in 1 month.

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: Quick fix

          The engines are old shuttle engines but the main tank is significantly different. The Mobile Launcher was brand new in 2010 then re-purposed from the cancelled Ares launch vehicle to the not yet cancelled SLS. It is a horrible mixture of old and new with major changes since the Shuttle and Ares. It is astonishing that NASA were able to get it this close to working even with the help of long delays and a huge budget. It will take much more time and money to reach the same unreliability as the Shuttle but one specific problem with loading hydrogen should not take forever.

          Perhaps the issues with ML-1 will be mostly fixed by Artemis 3 then ML-1 can be scrapped because Artemis 4+ requires a new Mobile Launcher.

          1. Essuu

            Older than they look

            The mobile launchers are older than they seem - whilst the superstructures are new for SLS, the crawlers themselves date back to Apollo, with various subsequent modifications in the years since to support the Shuttle, Ares, and now SLS (using ML-1)

            Artemis 4 is so heavy it will need a substantially upgraded crawler and, in typical NASA fashion, they decided to adapt ML-2 rather than build a completely new one. We'll all be shocked, I'm sure, to learn that it's already over twice its initial budget and 3-4 years late on its 3-4 year initial programme.


      2. Gary Stewart

        Re: Quick fix

        The pressure spike was supposedly due to problems with manual control by ground personnel. They have

        automated more of the process and given additional training to the ground personnel to prevent this from happening again.

  4. John Robson Silver badge

    Never been flown into space...

    never been flown at all.

    So it's currently behind starship, though not superheavy.

    1. TechnicalVault

      Space by instalment plan

      The Orion capsule has done a full high apogee re-entry test ( where it was sent up to a high apogee in space then went through all the forces that you'd experience coming back from the moon. The SRBs and RS=25s are hardly new tech, we've got reams of data on them both in flight and from ground tests. The bit where we lack data is this all up integrated test, that's what this mission is.

      We have Starship in-atmosphere tests but nothing reaching space yet and so we don't have much data on how the craft will perform in space. The all up test for this one ( is scheduled later on this year. I'm optimistic but space is a challenging environment so it's all about gathering that data.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Space by instalment plan

        Orion('s boilerplate model) has... but that's the payload not the rocket.

        IIRC this capsule isn't a full Orion spec capsule.

        **We** all know it's a less well built shuttle, but the claim is that it's all new...

        "NASA's Space Launch System might look like a mishmash of heritage Space Shuttle parts but it's all new hardware"

        (Unfortunately not a quote with attribution, so...)

        I don't recall the ICS having had a flight test of any sort either.

        The odds are good that SLS will get to orbit first, but SS/SH will certainly not be beaten to landing by SLS.

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Put it out of it's misery

    Frankly, I'm hoping for a RUD that does a lot of infrastructure damage, but doesn't hurt anyone. Maybe someone(s) will finally get the message!

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