SLS Block 1 | Artemis-1

Artemis-1 (previously Exploration Mission 1) is the first flight on Space Launch System and the second flight of Orion crew spacecraft. Mission is planned to be an uncrewed circumlunar flight.

SLS Block 1 | Artemis I (

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14 Responses to SLS Block 1 | Artemis-1

  1. The following, an interview with former NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver,
    is an extremely interesting discussion of political infighting between U.S. Senators and NASA officials over the SLS program versus SpaceX’s Starship, etc.

    Garver: It was September of 2011, the day before they had the big press event to reveal the SLS design.
    We met in Senator (Kay Bailey, of Texas) Hutchison’s office. Charlie (Bolden, NASA administrator) and I were there.
    Jack Lew from the White House Office of Management and Budget. Senators Hutchison and Nelson (Bill, of Florida) and their staffs. And we sat there and were admonished—we in the administration—by Senators Hutchison and Nelson for proposing a human spaceflight plan that was going to lead to great ruin.
    There was just such visible hostility on the part of the senators towards us.

    • The following assets that there is no one in effective control of the full Artemis program:

      What comes next [after the initial launch], however,
      seems more like science-fiction to many insiders than a solid plan,
      given the countless systems in various stages of development for NASA and at private space companies —
      from spacecraft to space suits —
      that will all have to come together to pull the missions off successfully and safely.

      And only now is NASA rushing to create a single management structure to handle it all.

      “I keep seeing the pieces of the puzzle
      but we’re struggling with how the pieces of the puzzle are actually going to fit together and work together,”
      said Dan Dumbacher, executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the former head of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission.
      “There’s a lot of things that have to be figured out.”

      Dumbacher, who warned Congress this spring that
      NASA’s “piecemeal, uncoordinated approach is doomed to failure,”
      is among a number of agency insiders, veterans and oversight authorities who are sounding the alarm…

  2. Lars says:

    With an estimated cost of $4B per launch, which is probably underestimated like so much of this program, it is questionable whether NASA will be able to afford it. There are many within NASA who have raised a lot of objections for quite some time, but many components are made in various congressional districts and that is what is driving this boondoggle. Locally, it is expected to be one hell of a traffic jam Monday morning. Luckily, I can watch from my front yard and I don’t have to go anywhere.

  3. ked says:

    I haven’t seen such excitement from the NASA manned spaceflight community for many years – maybe since Saturn days. Johnson, Marshall & Kennedy Center staff & contractors are fully engaged. a powerful new rocket going to the moon… a new generation of engineers, scientists, technicians & more – all intent on success. back to the moon, around, back … again & aga

  4. Jus’Think’n says:

    NASA says they will try again on Saturday. Hope it goes well

  5. Lars says:

    With about 5 and a half hours to go, they just stopped loading hydrogen fuel into the rocket. That is not good news. No explanation as to why yet.

  6. Lars says:

    Hydrogen is flowing again, but at a reduced rate.

  7. Fourth and Long says:

    The Skittish Scarecraft Carrier dropped a wicket in her Maidan voyage it was reported in other news.
    At least our NASA guys understand they won’t have fizzlecist Richard Feynman around to showboat dipping rubber washers into ice water on irrational TV. My wife, a person entirely uninterested in science or engineering and not interested either though she could solve any puzzle put to her, worried outloud the night before the Challenger disaster saying “I don’t think it’s a good idea to launch the Space Shuttle in such cold weather, do you?” You read my mind dear I was just thinking the same thing. She was in Manhattan 1500 miles away and had never been to Florida. Tens of thousands or hundreds or millions of everyday Americans, every other day disparaged by late night cow-media-ants every other day in their fake “look how stupid the man on the street in our country is” also knew. So, of course the finest engineers in the world suspected nothing, and they needed Richard Feynman! (I learned that last bit here due to this blog’s earlier incarnation, thanks).

    What prevailed? Nancy Reagan’s horoscope charts, or Francine Sinatra’s .. ok I’ll stop.
    Somewhere in the land of Nod, did one or two lesser lymphotropic autozygotic mutations of our species comprehend that much more money could be made from lifetime subscriptions to the videos of the avoidable national and international tragedy that severely damaged the reputation of the United States of Unawareica? I don’t know. When did Rupert Julie Annie get his game in gear? Oh I am a bad boy again. I am. Punknish me, oh obliterator of star systems and starry eyed lady teachers who became astronauts, you.

  8. Lars says:

    They have one more shot on Monday or Tuesday. If that does not work, the rocket will have to return to the Vehicle Assembly Building and it will be a few months before they can try again.

  9. A technical (and political) explanation of the problem:

    Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, but it is also the lightest.
    It takes 600 sextillion [1021 = (103)7] hydrogen atoms to reach the mass of a single gram.
    Because it is so tiny,
    hydrogen can squeeze through the smallest of gaps.
    This is not so great a problem at ambient temperatures and pressures,
    but at super-chilled temperatures and high pressures,
    hydrogen easily oozes out of any available opening.

    To keep a rocket’s fuel tanks topped off,
    propellant lines leading from ground-based systems must remain attached to the booster until the very moment of launch.
    In the final second,
    the “quick-disconnects” at the end of these lines break away from the rocket.
    The difficulty is that, in order to be fail-safes in disconnecting from the rocket,
    this equipment cannot be bolted together tightly enough to entirely preclude the passage of hydrogen atoms—
    it is extremely difficult to seal these connections under high pressure, and low temperatures.

    NASA, therefore, has a tolerance for a small amount of hydrogen leakage.
    Anything above a 4 percent concentration of hydrogen in the purge area near the quick disconnect, however,
    is considered a flammability hazard.
    “We were seeing in excess of that by two or three times that,” said Mike Sarafin, NASA’s Artemis I Mission Manager, said of Saturday’s hydrogen leak.
    “It was pretty clear we weren’t going to be able to work our way through it.
    Every time we saw a leak, it pretty quickly exceeded our flammability limits.”

    So why does NASA use liquid hydrogen as a fuel for its rockets, if it is so difficult to work with,
    and there are easier to handle alternatives such as methane or kerosene?
    the real answer is that Congress mandated that NASA continue to use space shuttle main engines as part of the SLS rocket program.

  10. NASA’s plan as of Tuesday, September 6:

    [T]eams have decided to replace the seal
    on an interface, called the quick disconnect,
    between the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line on the mobile launcher
    and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket
    while at the launch pad.

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