NASA and prime contractor Boeing are working to finish assembly and checkout of the first Space Launch System (SLS) Core Stage next month and send it on its way to a rocket test facility by Christmas. Aerojet Rocketdyne and Boeing attached the last of four RS-25 engines on the stage in early November at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans.
With the re-named Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) attached and almost all the other working equipment installed in Core Stage-1, Boeing was starting an estimated month’s worth of integrated testing on Saturday. Simultaneously, NASA has started a series of official documentation audits and pre-shipment reviews at Michoud ahead of the completion of assembly.
When completed, Boeing will turn over the stage to NASA for transportation by barge from MAF to the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi for several months of “Green Run” acceptance testing of this first flight article in the B-2 Test Stand there. The Final Integrated Functional Testing (FIFT) will help verify the stage is ready to leave MAF for Stennis, which NASA and Boeing are hoping can happen by the end of the year.
“Testing, FIFT, will start Saturday,” Craig Williams, Boeing’s Core ...