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“The Endless SLS Test Firings Act”

The Senate passes a law! In the NASA authorization that was just approved by the Senate and awaits House action was an amendment — inserted by Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) — that will essentially require NASA to build an SLS core stage designed for only one purpose, endless testing at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

The Stennis-specific provision says NASA should “initiate development of a main propulsion test article for the integrated core stage propulsion elements of the Space Launch System, consistent with cost and schedule constraints, particularly for long-lead propulsion hardware needed for flight.”

So what exactly is a “main propulsion test article,” and why does NASA need one? According to a Senate staffer, who spoke to Ars on background, this would essentially be an SLS core stage built not to fly but to undergo numerous tests at Stennis.

My headline above is essentially stolen from the Eric Berger article at the link. Because this ground test core is not funded, at best it would likely not be ready for testing prior to ’27 or ’28, at the earliest. By then who knows if SLS will even exist any longer, replaced by low-cost and far more useful commercial rockets. Thus, if this Wicker amendment survives, Stennis might be testing a core stage endlessly for a rocket that no longer exists.

And even if SLS is flying, what point is there to test a core stage that never flies? None, except if you wish to create fake jobs in Mississippi for your constituents, as Wicker obviously is trying to do.

Fortunately the bill is merely an authorization, and has not yet passed the House. Much could change before passage, and even after passage money will need to be appropriated to create this fake testing project.

Unfortunately, we are discussing our modern Congress, which has no brains, can’t count, and thinks money grows on trees. I would not bet against this fake testing program becoming law.

Pioneer cover

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.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

6 comments

  • Jeff Wright

    Maybe we could shut down wind tunnels too…I want hydrolox testing…because Musk isn’t doing it.

  • Terrence

    One very sad article among a great number of very sad articles written about the far left fake news/democrats/deep state.

  • George C

    I bet that thousands of people would be willing to pay a rock-concert level ticket price to witness in person a full static fire test of a Superheavy. All 32 engines going full thrust for several minutes would be “like mind blowing man.”

    Dude, sign me up.

  • Jeff Wright

    SH will be louder than the Saturns…but N-I’s record will drop. I remember occasional gas jets from a small wall-mount nozzle…and how very loud it was for its size. That from Huntsville…which looks to be attacked by liberal Hollywood again with the new Indiana Jones film. Ford could really make our airspace safe by turning in his pilot’s license before crashing from yet another Duffer moment best held on the links-not the tarmac.

  • James Street

    A high paying job that doesn’t produce anything? I’m more than qualified!

    Where do I apply?

  • Lee Stevenson

    I have a fork lift truck license, can I get a green card? ( Only kidding :-)

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