If the Green Run static-fire evaluation of the Space Launch System central stage goes as planned, NASA ought to be ready to set a fresh launch date for Artemis 1 within several weeks. The static-fire test will take place on March 18 at Stennis Space Center situated in Mississippi, between 3 and 5 p.m. NASA has scheduled the test for a two-hour period between 3 and 5 p.m. Eastern. The four RS-25 engines in the core stage can fire for up to 8 minutes, while administration officials stated last month that after four minutes, they would have collected all the information they really need for their research goals.
This is a repeat of the very first Green Run assessment, which was stopped after 67 seconds because the hydraulic system in one engine surpassed “purposely conservative” flight software restrictions. The second test was supposed to take place on February 25, but it was canceled days before due to a possible problem with a “prevalve” in the central stage that provides liquid oxygen to engines. Steve Jurczyk, NASA Acting Administrator, stated in an interview on March 17 that preparations for the forthcoming test are progressing well. From Stennis, he stated, “The staff is trained to go.” “We must be able to get that off tomorrow provided the weather isn’t too bad, like lightning or the high winds.”
He stated the agency ought to be able to announce a launch date for Artemis 1 flight that will be using the central stage being evaluated at Stennis quickly if the test goes well. The launch date for that mission is currently set for November. “I believe they will look at the schedules again in a few weeks to check if we will make November this year or even whether we need to step out a little bit.”
Due to various disruptions caused by the disease outbreak as well as a series of severe weather systems which passed close to Stennis last summer as well as fall, as well as technical problems during the evaluation, NASA’s margin for the November deployment has essentially been used up, he added. He did say, however, that the project has been developing to “modify” the workflow at Kennedy Space Center until the core stage arrives, which will enable them to “compact the timeline there a little bit.” “I guess in a few weeks, we will know if November is realistic or if we really need to move it out maybe a month or even two,” he added.