Activation of the B-2 test stand at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi for the “Green Run” test campaign of the first Space Launch System (SLS) Core Stage is almost complete and NASA and its contractor workforce are moving into practice and simulations of the upcoming tests while finishing up remaining tasks. The B-2 position of the test stand has been used for stage testing from Saturn to Shuttle to Delta IV, and NASA is planning to set up the first Core Stage there in the second half of 2019.
A series of tests in the Fall of 2018 verified the working operation of critical cryogenic propellant management and environmental control systems for Core Stage service and support. Over the past six years, the Shuttle-era B-2 test stand structure was restored, construction of additional structure for SLS completed, and outfitting and activation of test stand and test control center systems are almost complete.
The final major structural pieces, the two forward hold downs called “yellow boxes,” were also installed in late 2018. A “form and fit” Pathfinder test article is planned to arrive in the early Spring to practice lifting and handling the real thing when it finally arrives at Stennis.