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NASA thinks engine issue on SLS launch caused by misreading sensor

NASA engineers have now concluded that the improper temperatures in one engine in SLS’s core stage that forced the August 29, 2022 launch to be scrubbed were caused by a faulty sensor, and that the actual temperatures in the engine were correct.

During a news conference on Tuesday evening, NASA’s program manager for the SLS rocket, John Honeycutt, said his engineering team believed the engine had actually cooled down from ambient temperature to near the required level but that it was not properly measured by a faulty temperature sensor. “The way the sensor is behaving does not line up with the physics of the situation,” Honeycutt said.

The problem for NASA is that the sensor cannot be easily replaced and would likely necessitate a rollback to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a few kilometers from the launch pad. This would delay the launch of the rocket at least into October, and the space agency is starting to get concerned about wear and tear on a rocket that has now been stacked for nearly a full year.

With this SLS rocket, NASA management is now trapped between a rock and a hard place. The rocket’s solid rocket boosters has been stacked for just short of two years, almost a full year beyond their use-by date. Moreover, there are batteries on the rocket that only function for about a month before they must be replaced. Their replacement date is September 6th, which means if NASA cannot get the rocket launched by that date it will have to return it to the assembly building, delaying the launch to at least October. If it has to replace the solid rocket boosters the launch will likely then be delayed until next year, which will seriously impact the second SLS launch, set to send astronauts around the Moon and back.

At the moment the launch is scheduled for a two hour launch window beginning at 2:17 pm (Eastern) on Saturday, September 3, 2022. The countdown will be live streamed here. At the moment the weather for Saturday has improved, with s 60% chance the launch can proceed.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
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.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

10 comments

  • TONY

    Has anyone from NASA asked VP Harris what she thinks they should do?

  • pzatchok

    TONY

    All I want to do to that woman is to trick her into getting inside the capsule, shutting the door and sending her around the moon.

    Just to test the life support system.

  • Mark

    Since the current plan is to tweak the flight computer to ignore the higher temperature reading during engine chill down, do they also have to ignore higher Engine #3 temperature readings on the way up? I recall that we had a STS abort to orbit due to faulty sensor high temperature readings. Perhaps they use another sensor on the way up to orbit.

  • GaryMike

    So many really ‘smart’ people (NASA, Congress, contractors); what a mess.

    The meaning of “smart” has changed.

  • John

    Kick the tires and light the fires, NASA. The sensor’s faulty, but the rest is fine!

    OK so the rocket doesn’t have tires.

  • Tom

    The leeway on standards they allow themselves compared to the high standards they hold their competition will not bode well unless NASA gets very, very lucky on Saturday. I wonder what the betting odds are in Ireland.

  • My book says:

    50 – 50 back to the VAB

    30 – 70 launch Saturday

  • Jeff Wright

    Bloody sensors were the cause of my recent car problems. Ugh!

  • GaryMike

    Braille fails when the door slams your fingers.

  • commodude

    Hydrogen leak while fueling……

    NASA needs to shelve this turkey.

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