SLS (Space Launch System) is up over 8 minutes in its full-duration test engine test fire. It then had a safe engine shutdown.
The first SLS green run test fire cut off after about 67 seconds. The full test fire mimics the roughly eight-minute engine fire to reach orbit.
It has “only” taken about ten years from the start of the SLS program to reach a successful full-duration test fire. The SLS program is basically 90% Space Shuttle rockets and components reconfigured into an Apollo Saturn V like rocket stack.
The SpaceX Heavy has flown successfully three times and has 60% of the payload capacity. The new SpaceX Starship is undergoing high-altitude test flights now. The SpaceX Super Heavy Starship is targeting a mid to late-summer first orbital flight. The SpaceX Super Heavy Starship will be fully reusable and will have more payload capacity than the SLS. The SpaceX Super Heavy Starship will almost certainly beat the SLS to orbit. The SpaceX Super Heavy Starship will cost 100 to 1000 times less per launch than the SLS. The SLS program has cost over $20 billion and each launch will cost a billion or more. The SLS program will cost $2-4 billion per year and will likely only have one launch per year. SLS might only launch once every two years.
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
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28 thoughts on “SLS Successful Full Duration Test Fire”
I won't be surprised if the Starship evolves into a giant X-37B-like vehicle, since NASA has a well-known and easy-to-understand resistance to propulsive landing for manned spacecraft. That would not be a horrible thing. A modest loss of payload, but a big gain in cross range.
HEADLINE: "NASA Fires Up 40 Year Old Shuttle Engines…and They Still Work!"
I support SLS
We would have to trust in BO doing something and be eyeing RocketLabs.
Doesn't work, the SLS core stage is based on Hydrogen-Oxygen. Need a new Hydrogen-Oxygen engine or a multi-billion dollar contract to change the SLS core stage to some other fuel combination.
Or maybe use literally any other engine which was indeed designed to be thrown away.
The SSMEs work! Alright!
Actually China would be our closest competitor, and probably winning in the race to develop the moon. We would be steadily losing ground in all aspects of space, and still be buying seats from Russia to reach the ISS.
Clearly NASA will need make a multi billion dollar follow on contract to create cheaper single use engines.
White collar welfare.
If it were not for SpaceX, we'd be hearing a pill of HS about how complex these things are, and that's why it can't go any faster, or cheaper!
They should concentrate on funding exploration missions, capabilities not yet commercially mature, and funding new technologies. Properly framed, they could have issued an RFP for a low cost and fully reusable lunar transport system without spending a dollar on SLS, Orion, Gateway or the HLS as currently conceived.
No, this is the stupendously expensive and utterly unnecessary shuttle derived core first stage for SLS. To be clear, those four engines they just test fired at the same engines which have flown many times before on shuttle orbiters before they were retired. Now, more than a decade and several billion dollars later, we have a somewhat successful test fire.
Vulcan is another expensive and unnecessary launcher funded by the US government as pork for the aerospace industry, but at least its funding the development of a new methane/lox engine.
Is this the Vulcan rocket? The booster is supposed to be powered by Blue Origins B-4 Rockets. ULA had some problems last year with the rocket but Bezos has been testing it this year out in West Texas. It is built in Huntsville where Rocketdyne makes the engines for the core stage that was tested yesterday. Nasa says they are going to be ready to put Astrobotics moon rover on the south pole of the moon this year. It would seem strange to me to use the B-4 on such an important mission.
I'm really hoping Starship makes it to orbit first. I know Elon's goal last update was July 2021 for Starship's first orbital launch, but that seems a bit optimistic. The first booster is stacked, but will not hop or static fire as it's a pathfinder. Hopefully it will at least be pressure tested and then the can go for a hop with BN2!
Originally planned capability for the ISS as sending up shuttles would be impractical and just buying Soyuz-seats was not yet deemed acceptable: X-38, X-37C crew, al cancelled; example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_X-38#/media/File:ISS_Crew_Return_Vehicle.jpg. Dreamchaser could take up this role as it is already 70% there, but X-37C adds some extra cross range capability which is nice to have but not necessary. Capsules are fine.
Right, they could call it a "Thunderbird", I suppose.
Yes, I would say there is soon going to be a need for a rescue vehicle, already in orbit, with enough delta V to reach manned vehicles and stations in the Earth/Moon system.
If NASA wants a role that doesn’t duplicate private sector ventures, maybe they could concentrate on creating a rescue vehicle system. Something that can be deployed quickly, dock with standard air locks or accept people doing spacewalks from stricken vessels. Quick re-entry systems for medical emergencies would be a good goal. Multiple robot arms for emergency improvisations would be helpful.
No later than February next year, due to the SRB seal stacking expiration date.
At this rate they ought to be able to get an SLS into orbit in time to reach one of the many elaborate space stations Elon Musk will build long before then.
Well that saves SLS from the SRB stacking clock for now. Just have to ship the booster to the cape for mating and integration now, plus swap/dry the engines.
Such an expensive waste using them one time.
Technically, I'd say it's as though you restored a car from the 80's, with the intention of driving it 20 miles and then rolling it off a cliff; These engines were specifically designed for reuse, at great expense, and they're treating them as one shot disposable engines.
The SLS first green run test cut off after 67 seconds, not 5 minutes.
Also, when you mention the SpaceX Super Heavy has 60% the capacity of SLS, I believe you mean Falcon Heavy.
Seems like you rushed this article. Accuracy is more important than speed to me.
Excellent news. Hopefully we will see a launch by…?
Nasa and Boeing wanna dance retro vibes. The setup is expensive though. Pork is on the menu.
Similar as if a person would drive car from eighties in 2021. Old-timers can be a nice hobby, nothing wrong with that. But I wouldn't be too serious about it for commercial usage.
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