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Despite political drama, NASA, Boeing press on with SLS Core Stage structural loads tests at Marshall

13 Mar 2019, 17:23 UTC
Despite political drama, NASA, Boeing press on with SLS Core Stage structural loads tests at Marshall
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NASA and Space Launch System (SLS) Core Stage prime contractor Boeing are in the middle of a busy period of testing structural test articles (STA) at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

One team is busy running test cases on the intertank STA in a large, indoor test facility while another is preparing the liquid hydrogen (LH2) tank STA for its test runs in another large, but outdoor stand down the road.
The continued testing shows a program that has not been impacted by the uncertainty created by comments made by NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine over recent days, pointing to evaluations that dampen SLS’ viability for missions it had already been tasked with.
The latest potential change of plan was noted on Wednesday morning, per options to launch Exploration Mission -1 (EM-1) on two commercial Heavy Lift rockets.

We need to consider all options to meet the Exploration Mission-1 target launch date of June 2020, including launching on commercial rockets. pic.twitter.com/fR5b2NzPtg
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) March 13, 2019

However, that remains just an evaluation, set to be concluded in April and not an official change of plan. As such, and as expected, SLS is continuing to press through ...

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