Just prior to expiration of U.S. federal government funding for NASA on December 21, the third of four structural test articles (STA) for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) left the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans on its way by barge to the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Alabama, for testing in 2019. The space agency is one of the federal agencies currently unfunded and almost all of the civil servant workforce must avoid any work activities.
Prior to NASA’s shutdown, SLS Stages prime contractor Boeing was also continuing to make progress completing production of the first SLS Core Stage, with the critical path work on engine section integration estimated to be about 85 percent complete. Some assembly, integration, and testing of critical path hardware for Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) like the engine section, is continuing during the lapse in funding.
LH2 STA enroute to Marshall during NASA shutdown
The liquid hydrogen (LH2) tank STA was moved from MAF’s Vertical Assembly Building (VAB), Building 110, down to the dock where the Pegasus barge was berthed early on December 14. The STA consists of the LH2 tank qualification article and two simulators attached on both ends and stretches nearly ...