SLS Tested LOX Tank Until Failure in Pressure Test

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) Program is concluding its structural qualification test series with one upcoming final test that will push it to failure.

Late in 2019, engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama tested NASA’s Space Launch System liquid hydrogen test article tank to failure. The tank withstood more than 260% of expected flight loads before buckling and rupturing. The test version of the tank aced earlier tests, withstanding forces expected at engine thrust levels planned for Artemis lunar missions, showing no signs of cracks, buckling or breaking. The test on Dec. 5 — conducted using a combination of gaseous nitrogen for pressurization and hydraulics for loads — pushed the tank to the limits by exposing it to higher forces that caused it to break as engineers predicted. Earlier tests at Marshall certified the tank for both the current version of the SLS — called Block 1, which will use an upper stage called the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage — and the Block 1B version that will replace the ICPS with the more powerful Exploration Upper Stage.

Written by Brian Wang,

11 thoughts on “SLS Tested LOX Tank Until Failure in Pressure Test”

  1. Interesting to note that neither SLS tank failure occurred at a weld joint, like all the Starship tank test failures have, so far. A properly engineered and manufactured welded pressurized structure should never fail at a weld joint.

  2. Ideally yes, but filling with water and nitrogen gas is usually a decent substitute if you are short hardware articles you can destroy/scrap…

  3. Everything’s on schedule then.

    I mean, if what you’re looking for is to continue with the jobs program.

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