My heart be still! NASA engineers have successfully fixed a valve on the inside of the core stage of the agency’s SLS rocket, making it possible for the continuation of the ongoing test program leading up to its first and only full static fire test on December 21st of the rocket’s core stage, prior to the rocket’s first launch.
Over the weekend, engineers at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, successfully repaired a valve inside the core stage of the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The team designed an innovative tool to remove and replace the valve’s faulty clutch while the core stage remained in the B-2 test stand, and without removing the entire valve. Subsequent testing of the repaired valve confirmed that the system is operating as intended.
If that static fire test fails for any reason, it will likely delay the first Artemis launch by at least a year, if not longer. Right now there is a slim chance that SpaceX’s Starship will complete its first orbital launch before SLS (which NASA has been developing for only seventeen years). Further delays would almost guarantee it.
Such an event will make the entire SLS program appear kind of stupid, irrelevant, and an utter waste of money. But then, SLS is exactly that, a wasteful boondoggle designed not to get American astronauts into space but to spend money in Congressional districts and states. These corrupt legislators actually like the delay and failure, because it extends the contracts and funnels more money to their constituents over a longer period of time. Who cares if anything ever really gets accomplished, or the interests of the U.S. are advanced? What really matters is making sure Congressmen get photo ops, and their big space backers get contracts so they can continue to make campaign contributions.
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