Space Launch System Delayed Again With Short Test Fire

The test-fire of the Space Launch system rocket two days ago should have lasted eight minutes but the engines shutdown after one minute. Eight minutes is the time to launch the rocket to orbit. A one-minute firing on an actual launch would have meant a failure to reach orbit.

The Space Launch System collected data but even if they find a simple problem, it would be reckless to proceed to an actual launch without a good test.

The Space Launch System needs months to prepare for a full test firing.

NASA has 16 RS-25 engines which were salvaged from the old space shuttle program. Those engines will be used on the first four SLS rocket launches for Artemis missions 1 through 4. Clearly, NASA has been wasting money trying to use the old engines. They have spent about $30-40 billion and over twenty to get to this failed test. This includes the SLS program and the constellation program.

The two main champions of the SLS are no longer in the Senate.

This continued failure will likely cost the SLS program the Europa Clipper launch. There are problems making the SLS compatible with the Europa Clipper.

If SpaceX can complete a successful flight to orbit with the Super Heavy Starship in 2021, then the SLS program could finally be killed. The Super Heavy Starship would have more payload capacity and would be over ten times cheaper than SLS.

Written by Brian Wang,