NASA Space Launch System (SLS)

Moose

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Norm Augustine's nonpartisan commission recommended killing Constellation, and the SLS is explicitly an invention of the US Senate. Not to mention that Ares V was more likely to face issues than SLS given the more ambitious spec sheet. And it's once again worth pointing out that Constellation flight targets were all predicated on significant NASA budget increases which never happened under any of the last several Administrations. Had Constellation continues into the 2010s, it would just as likely be spinning it's wheels as ready to launch a Heavy rocket in the next year. Some form of Ares-1 might be flying crews, but at the expense of no Commercial Crew program.
 

NMaude

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Some more news concerning Artemis I now that it's back in the VAB for final servicing and installation of batteries and FTS before being rolled out for its launch.

Work Continues to Prepare Artemis I Moon Rocket for Launch

Since the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion arrived back at the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 2, teams extended the access platforms surrounding the rocket and spacecraft to perform repairs and conduct final operations before returning to launch pad 39B for the Artemis I mission.

Technicians are working to inspect, fix, and check out equipment associated with a seal on the quick disconnect of the tail service mast umbilical that was identified as the source of a hydrogen leak during the wet dress rehearsal test that ended June 20. Engineers have disconnected the umbilical and are in the process of examining the area where they will replace two seals on the quick disconnect hardware. Working in tandem with those repairs, engineers also completed the last remaining engineering test that is part of the integrated testing operations in the VAB.

Teams also performed additional planned work on aspects of the rocket and spacecraft. Engineers swapped out a computer on the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage called the Inertial Navigation and Control Assembly unit that was used during wet dress rehearsal activities with the one that will be used for flight and will test the unit next week. The newly installed flight unit includes freshly calibrated inertial navigation sensors and updated software to guide and navigate the upper stage during flight.

Technicians also activated several batteries for the rocket elements, including for the solid rocket boosters and the ICPS. The batteries on the core stage will be activated in the coming weeks, and all the batteries will then be installed. The batteries provide power for the rocket elements during the final portion of the countdown on launch day and through ascent.

Engineers also charged the batteries for the secondary payloads located on the Orion stage adapter and will work to install payloads inside the Orion spacecraft in the coming weeks.

I'm looking forward to the launch.
 

FighterJock

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Some more news concerning Artemis I now that it's back in the VAB for final servicing and installation of batteries and FTS before being rolled out for its launch.

Work Continues to Prepare Artemis I Moon Rocket for Launch

Since the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion arrived back at the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 2, teams extended the access platforms surrounding the rocket and spacecraft to perform repairs and conduct final operations before returning to launch pad 39B for the Artemis I mission.

Technicians are working to inspect, fix, and check out equipment associated with a seal on the quick disconnect of the tail service mast umbilical that was identified as the source of a hydrogen leak during the wet dress rehearsal test that ended June 20. Engineers have disconnected the umbilical and are in the process of examining the area where they will replace two seals on the quick disconnect hardware. Working in tandem with those repairs, engineers also completed the last remaining engineering test that is part of the integrated testing operations in the VAB.

Teams also performed additional planned work on aspects of the rocket and spacecraft. Engineers swapped out a computer on the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage called the Inertial Navigation and Control Assembly unit that was used during wet dress rehearsal activities with the one that will be used for flight and will test the unit next week. The newly installed flight unit includes freshly calibrated inertial navigation sensors and updated software to guide and navigate the upper stage during flight.

Technicians also activated several batteries for the rocket elements, including for the solid rocket boosters and the ICPS. The batteries on the core stage will be activated in the coming weeks, and all the batteries will then be installed. The batteries provide power for the rocket elements during the final portion of the countdown on launch day and through ascent.

Engineers also charged the batteries for the secondary payloads located on the Orion stage adapter and will work to install payloads inside the Orion spacecraft in the coming weeks.

I'm looking forward to the launch.

I wonder what the payloads will be for the Orion spacecraft NMaude?
 

NMaude

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I wonder what the payloads will be for the Orion spacecraft NMaude?

Aside from the crew I'm not certain however it wouldn't surprise me at all if later missions have an upgraded service-module which has the Orion's equivalent of the Scientific Instrument Module used in Apollo 15-17:

  • Sector 1 (50°) was originally unused, so it was filled with ballast to maintain the SM's center-of gravity.
On the last three lunar landing (I-J class) missions, it carried the scientific instrument module (SIM) with a powerful Itek 24 inches (610 mm) focal length camera originally developed for the Lockheed U-2 and SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft. The camera photographed the Moon; had the S-IVB failed to fire causing the CSM to not leave earth orbit, astronauts would have used it to photograph the Earth.[15][16] SIM also had other sensors and a subsatellite.

Particles and Fields Subsatellite

Particles and Fields Subsatellite[edit]​

Illustration of satellite being deployed from a space vehicle
Artist's conception of subsatellite deployment

The Apollo 15 Particles and Fields Subsatellite (PFS-1) was a small satellite released into lunar orbit from the SIM bay just before the mission left orbit to return to Earth. Its main objectives were to study the plasma, particle, and magnetic field environment of the Moon and map the lunar gravity field. Specifically, it measured plasma and energetic particle intensities and vector magnetic fields, and facilitated tracking of the satellite velocity to high precision. A basic requirement was that the satellite acquire fields and particle data everywhere on the orbit around the Moon.[17] As well as measuring magnetic fields, the satellite contained sensors to study the Moon's mass concentrations, or mascons.[56] The satellite orbited the Moon and returned data from August 4, 1971, until January 1973, when, following multiple failures of the subsatellite's electronics, ground support was terminated. It is believed to have crashed into the Moon sometime thereafter.[57]
 
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NMaude

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More news concerning the Artemis 2 first-stage and its due date:

Boeing aiming to deliver second SLS Core Stage to NASA in March

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Boeing is continuing final assembly work for the second Space Launch System (SLS) Core Stage at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans, with plans to complete production and deliver the rocket stage to NASA next year in March 2023. The space agency’s prime contractor for SLS Core Stages is wrapping up standalone integration of the engine section/boattail assembly of the most complicated element of the launch vehicle.

Following subassembly functional testing, Boeing plans to break the engine section over from its current vertical orientation to horizontal and then mate it to the upper “four-fifths” of the stage in late October. The four RS-25 engines would then be installed late this year, leading to final integrated function testing of the whole stage over the holidays into early next year ahead of the planned March delivery date.

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(Photo Caption: The Core Stage-2 engine section/boattail assembly is seen in the final assembly area at MAF on July 20, to the left of the rest of the stage. The other four elements of the stage were joined over the last several months and the engine section/boattail was moved to this location in May.)

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(Photo Caption: The aft manifold assembly for the Core Stage-2 liquid hydrogen (LH2) tank is seen in an offline subassembly integration area at MAF on July 20. Corrosion damage to the manifold from Hurricane Ida, which passed close to the facility last August 29, setback work on the manifold, and delayed installation on the stage. It is now expected to be attached in the coming weeks.)

There is more in the article and it makes for an interesting read.
 

NMaude

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Some more news concerning the assembly of the number two and three SLS first-stages:

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Boeing, the prime Stages contractor for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) program, is working on the production and development of hardware for the third and fourth Artemis launches at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans. Welded and bolted structures for the third and fourth Core Stage vehicles are being assembled in parallel with preparations to begin the initial production of the new Exploration Upper Stage (EUS).

Structural assembly of four of the five main Core Stage-3 elements is complete and Boeing has begun the long-lead engine section structure for Core Stage-4. Simultaneously, weld development for EUS continues before the assembly of first flight structures and the new production area in the middle of the factory is being staged for the upcoming arrival of tooling to build the upper stage.

Core Stage-3 structures nearing completion

Boeing is currently working on the assembly and production of the next three Core Stages at Michoud. In addition to the final assembly of Core Stage-2, which is targeted for delivery in March, the structural assembly of Core Stage-3 is almost complete and the long lead elements for Core Stage-4 are in production behind those two builds.

The liquid oxygen (LOX) tank for Core Stage-3, which is assigned to the Artemis 3 SLS vehicle, is the last structure that needs to be assembled. There are five main structural elements for a Core Stage, a forward skirt, LOX tank, intertank, liquid hydrogen (LH2) tank, and engine section.

Beginning with this third flight article build, procurement and production of the engine section was started first as the “long lead” element of the stage. The engine section, where the powerheads of the four RS-25 engines and all the supporting Main Propulsion System (MPS) equipment comes together, is the most complicated element of the SLS vehicle as a whole and the Core Stage specifically.

The structure of the element consists of a welded barrel and a bolted thrust structure, which are then bolted together in a floor assembly jig (FAJ). While thousands of bolts are added structurally to integrate the barrel and the thrust structure in the jig, some secondary structures like brackets to hold electrical wiring and other equipment are also added during this phase of assembly.

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And there is a lot more information in the article also Boeing has started the long lead assembly of the thrust-structure for the fourth first-stage.
 

Flyaway

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