NASA and the U.S. Space Force have resolved an issue with the flight termination system on the Space Launch System that could have cut short the vehicle’s inaugural launch campaign.
Preparations for the first flight of the Space Launch System remain on track for a liftoff as soon as Aug. 29, NASA officials said Aug. 3.
NASA is preparing to award a contract to a Boeing-Northrop Grumman joint venture for Space Launch System missions that could run through the middle of the next decade.
NASA has reserved three days in late August and early September for the first launch of its Space Launch System rocket to send the Orion spacecraft to orbit around the moon and back.
A new mobile launch platform that Bechtel is building for NASA will cost up to four times as much as originally planned and could push back the first launch of an upgraded version of the Space Launch System to the late 2020s, a NASA audit concluded.
NASA has tentatively scheduled the next attempt to fuel the Space Launch System and go through a practice countdown for June 19, two weeks after the vehicle returns to the launch pad.
NASA is gearing up to perform another practice countdown of the Space Launch System in mid-June as it completes repairs to the vehicle from previous tests.
NASA expects to be ready to perform another countdown rehearsal of the Space Launch System in early June as it pushes back the first launch of the vehicle to at least August.
NASA managers said a rollback of the Space Launch System from its launch pad after three truncated countdown tests will allow them to address issues both at the pad and with the vehicle, but that it was too early to predict what it would do to the schedule for the vehicle’s first launch.
NASA cut short a third attempt to load propellants onto the Space Launch System for a countdown rehearsal April 14 after encountering several problems, including a hydrogen leak.
NASA officials defended their decision to proceed with a modified version of a countdown rehearsal for the Space Launch System that does not involve fueling the rocket’s upper stage, saying they’ll wait until after the test to determine the next steps toward launch.
NASA called off the first attempt to fuel its Space Launch System rocket and go through a practice countdown April 3, citing a problem with the rocket’s mobile launcher, but hopes to try again April 4.