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NASA Hopes to Complete SLS Testing to Meet March Launch Schedule

Rocket testing

NASA Hopes to Complete SLS Testing to Meet March Launch Schedule

NASA is still hoping that it would be able to launch the first Space Launch System by March despite delays in vehicle rollout.

According to a Jan. 5 update for the Artemis 1 mission, the SLS is expected to be rolled out to the Kenedy Space Center Launch Complex 39B for a fueling test and practice countdown before returning to the vehicle assembly building for final preparations. The wet dress rehearsal was originally scheduled for January but was delayed due to a problem with an engine controller. Officials replaced the engine controller, a process that ultimately ruled out a two-week test window in February, SpaceNews reported Thursday.

NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana said during the SpaceCom conference on Tuesday that a March launch is still feasible if all necessary tests are completed in February. He noted, however, that the timeline is tight if the agency wants to meet the expected launch date. Cabana also acknowledged that more issues might come up as NASA prepares for SLS tests. Jeremy Parsons, deputy director of Exploration Ground Systems at the Kennedy Space Center, said during the same event that there are about three weeks of integrated testing on the vehicle before it is ready for launch.

According to an official release in October 2021, an SLS launch in March would take place between March 12 and 27. If the window is not met, the next schedule would be between April 8 and 23.

NASA touts the Space Launch System as the most powerful rocket the space agency has built. According to NASA, the SLS rocket will produce around 8.8 million pounds of thrust during liftoff and ascent and is capable of sending over 27 metric tons of cargo to the Moon. It also has the power to carry heavier payloads to orbit

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Category: Space