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NASA now aiming for SLS launch in November

In finding that Hurricane Ian caused little damage at its vehicle assembly building at Kennedy, NASA managers have decided to target the the November 12 to 27 launch window for the first launch of its SLS rocket.

According to this graph [pdf], November 27th is the only date that will provide NASA with the longest mission for Orion (38 to 42 days). Furthermore, the mission precludes launches on November 13, 20-21, and 26.

Expect them to aim for November 12th, even though that will result in an Orion mission only 26 to 28 days long.

Conscious Choice cover

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Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
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  • Ray Van Dune

    Looks like November could be “Big Rocket Month”!

  • Scott M.

    Robert, would you mind expanding on why a longer mission would be better? I’m assuming a longer time will give a more thorough test of Orion’s systems when in deep space, although if memory serves Artemis I doesn’t have its life support systems installed.

  • Scott M: Your assumption is correct of course. A longer flight provides a more thorough test of whatever systems Orion carries.

    I also think testing the rocket is the primary goal, which is why I think they’ll launch on the first date they can, even if it results in a shorter Orion mission.

  • John hare

    Tropical storm by the time it reached the cape.

  • Ray Van Dune

    I question the wisdom of settling for significantly less Orion flight time on the Artemis I mission. Orion has at yet only a few hours in space on a single mission relatively near Earth, designed primarily to validate the entry system.

    The test of the SLS booster system will be over in minutes, but the remainder of the first mission is an excellent opportunity to test and perfect spacecraft navigation and sustained operation, not to mention the European service module for the first time. The opportunity to test this configuration for around 40 days compared to around 25 days is not an inconsiderable one!

    Any problems encountered on this mission will likely be solved and thus avoided on Artemis II, where a complex new system for human life support must be the focus. This next objective will benefit from the more stable operational platform that would more likely result from a full-duration Artemis I mission.

    There is obviously a strong desire to fly SLS for the first time and move on, and it may be tempting to regard Orion as highly tested already, but these motivations are somewhat illusory, in my opinion.

  • Mitch S.

    “Tropical storm by the time it reached the cape.”

    I was wondering about how Ian ultimately affected the cape and whether NASA could have got away with leaving SLS on the pad.
    I read a 104mph wind gust was recorded on one of the lightening towers so it looks like their precaution was warranted.
    But I also read the eye of the storm passed over the cape so they could have done the “Marooned” thing!

  • Edward

    Ray Van Dune,
    The test really depends upon the test plan. If the shorter flight can achieve all the necessary testing, then a longer flight may not present enough opportunity for — and benefit from — additional testing to offset the risk of a problem arising while waiting for the longer flight opportunity. There are only three long-test windows for November and December, but there are eighteen short-test opportunities. Delaying an adequate test for a small chance at a better test could be counterproductive.

    Delays have already made us think that SLS is not a reliable rocket, and additional delays would only feed that kind of thinking. After all, we are seeing month for month delays (actually, we went from launch being days away to being seven weeks away), and at this rate SLS will never launch. At some point you just have to accept the fact that you are ready to fly and say “Let’s light this candle.”

  • GaryMike

    Park the damn thing in a museum.

    It’s obsolete.

    Experience is what you have moments after you needed it.

  • Jeff Wright

    SLS and Starship seem joined at the hip…neither can keep a lead.

  • pzatchok

    We know that NASA is a little worried about slumping inside the two boosters.

    I wonder if there is a way to send a camera up inside the boosters with maybe a laser system to measure the inside diameter. This could be used to map the inside shape and size from day one to the day before launch.

    Or is every section closed off individually and burned through during launch?

    A small remote drone might be able to even if it just drove up the walls with wheels pushing on all sides to give it traction.

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