NASA today announced that it has rescheduled the full duration static fire engine test of the core stage of SLS’s first stage, moving it up one day to this coming Saturday, January 16th.
During the test, engineers will power up all the core stage systems, load more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic, or supercold, propellant into the tanks and fire all four engines at the same time.
If all goes right, that test will last about 8 minutes, the full time those engines are intended to fire during launch.
For SLS a lot rides on this test. Should anything go wrong, it will likely delay the launch, presently scheduled for November (though there are rumors this date is no longer likely). And since we now have a new administration taking power that is also linked politically with the previous Obama administration that was generally uninterested in SLS, a failure during this test could very well signal the death knell for this vastly over-budget and far behind schedule project.
For SLS to survive, this test must succeed, and fire for its full duration.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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