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After over 2 decades in shop SLS fails first test

Summary

NASA SLS after 50 seconds and engine failed and at 67s the test ended. The test was suppose to last 8 minutes. This is all based on flight proven hardware from the RS-25 Space Shuttle main engines to extended SRBs. the only new part was a larger fuel tank. however after almost 20 years NASA and Boeing have still not had a rocket launch.

 

Quotes

Quote

During a post-flight news conference, held outside near the test stand, officials offered few details about what had gone wrong. "We don't know what we don't know," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "It's not everything we hoped it would be."
It has since all gone sideways. By the time Saturday’s test took place, NASA had spent about $17.5 billion developing the rocket, and many billions more on ground systems to launch it. The original launch date was 2016, and now the rocket will likely not fly before 2022. And although much of the hardware has a long heritage, NASA and its contractors have still struggled to integrate it.

 

My thoughts

Given this is a space shuttle main engine RS-25 that has already flown and has been rebuilt, this should have been the most tested part. Aerojet Rocketdyne was paid a lot to refurbish engines and restart the production line., It looks like bring back the F1 from the Saturn V would have been a better move. I'd like to see this waste of money die

 

Sources

https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/01/nasas-space-launch-system-rocket-shuts-down-after-just-67-seconds/
 

UPDATE
15 of the 23 test had enough data
The test was shutdown by a hydraulic pressure reading breaking limits. The test limits were tighter than flight limits to keep the test stand safe
The MCF was a redundant sensor failing

The flash was "normal" with no damage
NASA is leaning towards another test in 3-5 weeks time (if they stay on track)

Sources
https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/01/nasa-likely-to-redo-hot-fire-test-of-its-space-launch-system-core-stage/

 

Edited by GDRRiley
update

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There's no such thing as a failure when testing, only valuable data,

 

Chances are they'll learn more from this than they would from a successful full test.

 

Remember folks, the difference between science and messing around is writing stuff down.

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1 minute ago, yian88 said:

Well Elon Musk is rubbing his hands now....

 

Why? Its in Space X's benefit that others succeed in getting into Space. Even the richest man in the word can not afford to fund an entire space revolution on his own.

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5 minutes ago, Master Disaster said:

Why? Its in Space X's benefit that others succeed in getting into Space. Even the richest man in the word can not afford to fund an entire space revolution on his own.

True but more money to SpaceX if other programs get cancelled due to setbacks and failures means faster/better development of the spaceship and its succesors V2, V3 etc...

To be honest i kind of feel like SpaceX's ideas are the only ones worth investing in atm, Elon is right space was/is too expensive and needs massive cost reductions so investing in half baked systems like SLS and archaic development methods.

The fact that it took NASA so long and they arent getting good results compared to what SpaceX achieved past 10 years shows clearly that the methodology used by NASA and other governments to develop rockets is not good and too expensive aswell.

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43 minutes ago, GDRRiley said:

Given this is a space shuttle main engine RS-25 that has already flown and has been rebuilt, this should have been the most tested part. Aerojet Rocketdyne was paid a lot to refurbish engines and restart the production line., It looks like bring back the F1 from the Saturn V would have been a better move. I'd like to see this waste of money die

I agree that they made the wrong choice, but for different reasons:

Reintegrating long retired spaceflight equipment has never worked. You lose too much of the engineering data, both that stored on "paper" and that which is in the heads of the engineers.

But, to play devils advocate here, we don't know yet if this is a design flaw or a manufacturing flaw. If It's a manufacturing flaw, we might not be that much further behind.

 

 

23 minutes ago, yian88 said:

The fact that it took NASA so long and they arent getting good results compared to what SpaceX achieved past 10 years shows clearly that the methodology used by NASA and other governments to develop rockets is not good and too expensive aswell.

TL;DR: The previous NASA administrator, Charlie Bolden, was doing things with the partners through back alleys. These back alley deals allowed the partners to subvert some of the oversight that NASA usually has in place. Because of that, the last decade is not a valid indicator of whether or not NASA policies can produce results. I'd give them a second chance: When the policies were being followed we went to the moon, developed the space shuttle, and put a permanent human presence in space.

We have to discount basically the entire last ten years. Jim Bridenstines predecessor, Charlie Bolden, got (politically) forced out because he was found to be being corrupt because he "thought it was the right thing to do to move things along quicker. That's how things have always been done." (<-- his own words). 

In reality, what he was doing was allowing the project partners to get sloppy by subverting some of the NASA oversight that's normally in place. Because that oversight was subverted, the partners (mostly Lockheed Martin and Boeing) were able to do a poor job of record keeping, which severely reduced their ability to perform the job over the long run. (as people come and go, the information stored in their head goes with them. This is a common problem in long-term product development, showing up very commonly in software development as well.)

IMO, I'd go so far as to accuse the leadership of those companies of having planned that out, because the end result is that they end up having a lot of unnecessary hold ups which, all added together, have ended up in delays significant enough to get more and more funding out of the same project (think: "this is turning out to be more difficult than we thought", but in reality the difficulty is only because they were doing a half ass job in the first place). But that is a leap without evidence.

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27 minutes ago, Master Disaster said:

There's no such thing as a failure when testing, only valuable data,

 

Chances are they'll learn more from this than they would from a successful full test.

 

Remember folks, the difference between science and messing around is writing stuff down.

the engine has been in production for over 50 years.given this is a flight proven engine something in the rebuild went wrong. over 140 fights of the space shuttle they had 7 major issues. 5 were between launches 40-60 as they started to ramp up launches pre Challenger. 5 of the total 7 were pre launch still on the pad with bad valves or sensors

 

Just now, straight_stewie said:

Reintegrating long retired spaceflight equipment has never worked. You lose too much of the engineering data, both that stored on "paper" and that which is in the heads of the engineers.

But, to play devils advocate here, we don't know yet if this is a design flaw or a manufacturing flaw. If It's a manufacturing flaw, we might not be that much further behind.

My idea of using an F1 really means building it from the ground up with modern engineering. I know the original ones were hand tuned and fitted they weren't mass produced.

most of the crews who worked on it last in the final upgrades of the space shuttle days should still be around.

its a rebuild flaw unless its a FOB issue.

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1 hour ago, yian88 said:

True but more money to SpaceX if other programs get cancelled due to setbacks and failures means faster/better development of the spaceship and its succesors V2, V3 etc...

To be honest i kind of feel like SpaceX's ideas are the only ones worth investing in atm

  

1 hour ago, GDRRiley said:

I'd like to see this waste of money die

 

It's in everyone's inerest to have more than one supplier, so investments in another solution will continue. SpaceX could at any time have an accident that grounds flights for a 3-year investigation like has happened in the past to NASA.

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9 minutes ago, Kilrah said:

  

 

It's in everyone's inerest to have more than one supplier, so investments in another solution will continue. SpaceX could at any time have an accident that grounds flights for a 3-year investigation like has happened in the past to NASA.

I do agree there should more than 1 supplier but the gov keeps letting them consolidate and allows these high profit cost+ contracts
the SLS/ constellation project (SLS is really just a rebrand of that) wouldn't be 10 years late and billions over budget if it was on a fixed cost

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Wait, NASA has spent 20 years designing a non-reusable rocket which can only launch 130 tons? Why not just make another Saturn V, which can launch 140 tons and dosen't need to be designed?

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6 minutes ago, maskmcgee said:

Wait, NASA has spent 20 years designing a non-reusable rocket which can only launch 130 tons? Why not just make another Saturn V, which can launch 140 tons and dosen't need to be designed?

Saturn V somehow didn't have more issues. the F1 engines from it would need a ground up redesign for modern manufacturing. the old ones were basically custom built. The J2 powering the 2nd and third stage has been modernized in the J2x but that was canceled when Constellation became SLS

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1 hour ago, GDRRiley said:

Saturn V somehow didn't have more issues. the F1 engines from it would need a ground up redesign for modern manufacturing. the old ones were basically custom built. The J2 powering the 2nd and third stage has been modernized in the J2x but that was canceled when Constellation became SLS

I think that there are already plans in existence for a re-worked F1 engine, that apparently use only 6 parts due to the advancements in manufacturing (which at the same time meant that the originals couldn't be reproduced either).

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5 hours ago, yian88 said:

True but more money to SpaceX if other programs get cancelled due to setbacks and failures means faster/better development of the spaceship and its succesors V2, V3 etc...

Despie my personal objections to Elon Musk I'm sure he's astute enough to realise that Space X won't survive indefinitely without significant investment in space as a business model. In the short term these issues will probably benefit him but if others don't get up there pretty soon and kick off the industry, Space X will eventually run out of money.

 

Space is expensive.

Quote

To be honest i kind of feel like SpaceX's ideas are the only ones worth investing in atm, Elon is right space was/is too expensive and needs massive cost reductions so investing in half baked systems like SLS and archaic development methods.

As do I, as long as the cost saving is done in the correct way and doesn't endanger lives.

Quote

 

The fact that it took NASA so long and they arent getting good results compared to what SpaceX achieved past 10 years shows clearly that the methodology used by NASA and other governments to develop rockets is not good and too expensive aswell.

Or it shows the Elon cut corners and as yet these shortcuts haven't bit him in the ass.

 

Turns out we're on the cusp of TNG's intro becoming reality, Space almost is the final frontier. The problem with frontiers is they tend to be pretty lawless.

 

Edit - Should clarify, I'm not suggesting Space X are deliberately and dangerously cutting corners. Far from it. I'm sure Space X is subject to the same regulations as everyone else however as a private entity Space X will not be held to the same operating standards as an agency doing it for a government would be. If a Falcon Heavy blows up Elon is personally on the line where as if a Nasa rocket blows up it costs the government, and by extension the taxpayer, millions (if not billions).

 

I might not agree with the way Musk does some of his business but I'm objective enough to realise he is a damn good businessman. He's on the same level as Bill Gates in a lot of ways, not because he deliberately destroys his opponents but in the way he can identify a gap in the market and swoop in early to get an early advantage over his competitors.

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@GDRRiley As someone with a long term interest in space and by extension the craft that go up there. Having 50 odd years of experiance with somthing means jack diddly squat when you put them in a new configuration. There's all kinds of things that can go wrong, the engines vibrations, exhaust flows, and the sound, and Em thrown off by them interact, those interactions have destroyed designs in the past. In theory computer modelling should catch all of that, but well there's a reason they're running these tests. it isn't the things you know that get you, it's the things you thought you know that you don't know that get you.

 

Also the F1 is a hugely inferiour engine to the RS-25's in everything but raw thrust, it burns less efficient fuels and does so in a manner that isn't even of comparable efficiency after you account.

 

As an example the Block 2 SLS with the 130 ton payload is projected to mass with no payload some 1.2-1.25 million KG's, (estimates on the second stage are still very rough). The Saturn V massed 2.9 million KG's and due to three stages had a lot more expensive components in the avionics and engines. When your conducting so few launches the material costs aren't minimal.

 

Thats not to say that i don't expect the F1 to make a reappearance someday, but it's not ideal in the current environment, you'd need to be launching a lot more rockets, (so that your defraying the cost of the rocket components tooling over vastly more launches and getting economies of scale going on stuff), to make the extra size of your launch vehicle  cost effective.

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Why is NASA even attempting to do this in the first place their lack of doing anything over the past few years should have automatically made them go by by and instead give those contracts out to Space X. Besides Elon has shown time and time again he is innovating at a pace that NASA can't keep up with. Infact Elon and Blue Origin are probably the only space endeavors I would even say have been innovative and successful at all recently. On top of all that the cost will be substantially lower just giving the contract to Elon instead of reinventing (or in this case rebuilding) the wheel.

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4 minutes ago, Shorty88jr said:

Why is NASA even attempting to do this in the first place their lack of doing anything over the past few years should have automatically made them go by by and instead give those contracts out to Space X. Besides Elon has shown time and time again he is innovating at a pace that NASA can't keep up with. Infact Elon and Blue Origin are probably the only space endeavors I would even say have been innovative and successful at all recently. On top of all that the cost will be substantially lower just giving the contract to Elon instead of reinventing (or in this case rebuilding) the wheel.

And if Space X have an accident and get grounded for a few years?

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5 minutes ago, Master Disaster said:

And if Space X have an accident and get grounded for a few years?

With people onboard or without? Without they would only ground it for investigation and fixing the issue. With people, I think they would need to fix and tests a dozen times before flying anyone again.

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7 hours ago, Master Disaster said:

Why? Its in Space X's benefit that others succeed in getting into Space. Even the richest man in the word can not afford to fund an entire space revolution on his own.

But Musk doesn't care about launching a space revolution, he cares about making money.

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36 minutes ago, Sauron said:

But Musk doesn't care about launching a space revolution, he cares about making money.

Of course he does, he has to for Space X to survive.

 

He's not going to make money from Space until it becomes a valid business. He needs space tourism and payload delivery to become commonplace. He needs people regularly travelling into orbit and businesses/governments needing deliveries to actually make money.

 

Right now he's throwing money at designing the business model but getting very little back from it, as complexity increases so does cost and he doesn't have unlimited funds, its going to take cooperation between multiple entities to get things started and that will need to be from both the public & private sectors.

 

At the end of the day Space X is still a business and all businesses have to start making money eventually.

 

1 hour ago, gabrielcarvfer said:

With people onboard or without? Without they would only ground it for investigation and fixing the issue. With people, I think they would need to fix and tests a dozen times before flying anyone again.

My question was in the context of the post I quoted. Handing all space contracts over to one company is a recipe for disaster. If said company has an accident the entire chain grinds to a halt.

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1 minute ago, Master Disaster said:

Right now he's throwing money at designing the business model but getting very little back from it, as complexity increases so does cost and he doesn't have unlimited funds, its going to take cooperation between multiple entities to get things started and that will need to be from both the public & private sectors.

I have a feeling the viability of commercial space flights does not hinge on actually going anywhere useful.

2 minutes ago, Master Disaster said:

At the end of the day Space X is still a business and all businesses have to start making money eventually.

And right now they'd probably make more if NASA kept buying or leasing their rockets.

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Sauron'stm Product Scores:

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Just a list of my personal scores for some products, in no particular order, with brief comments. I just got the idea to do them so they aren't many for now :)

Don't take these as complete reviews or final truths - they are just my personal impressions on products I may or may not have used, summed up in a couple of sentences and a rough score. All scores take into account the unit's price and time of release, heavily so, therefore don't expect absolute performance to be reflected here.

 

-Lenovo Thinkpad X220 - [8/10]

Spoiler

A durable and reliable machine that is relatively lightweight, has all the hardware it needs to never feel sluggish and has a great IPS matte screen. Downsides are mostly due to its age, most notably the screen resolution of 1366x768 and usb 2.0 ports.

 

-Apple Macbook (2015) - [Garbage -/10]

Spoiler

From my perspective, this product has no redeeming factors given its price and the competition. It is underpowered, overpriced, impractical due to its single port and is made redundant even by Apple's own iPad pro line.

 

-OnePlus X - [7/10]

Spoiler

A good phone for the price. It does everything I (and most people) need without being sluggish and has no particularly bad flaws. The lack of recent software updates and relatively barebones feature kit (most notably the lack of 5GHz wifi, biometric sensors and backlight for the capacitive buttons) prevent it from being exceptional.

 

-Microsoft Surface Book 2 - [Garbage - -/10]

Spoiler

Overpriced and rushed, offers nothing notable compared to the competition, doesn't come with an adequate charger despite the premium price. Worse than the Macbook for not even offering the small plus sides of having macOS. Buy a Razer Blade if you want high performance in a (relatively) light package.

 

-Intel Core i7 2600/k - [9/10]

Spoiler

Quite possibly Intel's best product launch ever. It had all the bleeding edge features of the time, it came with a very significant performance improvement over its predecessor and it had a soldered heatspreader, allowing for efficient cooling and great overclocking. Even the "locked" version could be overclocked through the multiplier within (quite reasonable) limits.

 

-Apple iPad Pro - [5/10]

Spoiler

A pretty good product, sunk by its price (plus the extra cost of the physical keyboard and the pencil). Buy it if you don't mind the Apple tax and are looking for a very light office machine with an excellent digitizer. Particularly good for rich students. Bad for cheap tinkerers like myself.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Sauron said:

I have a feeling the viability of commercial space flights does not hinge on actually going anywhere useful.

Correct, at least for the foreseeable future it hinges on tourism (something I don't think he's even working on though I might be wrong?) and payload delivery. Putting the planned mission to Mars aside I don't think we will be going much further than the moon on a regular basis for a VERY LONG time. The vast majority of people rich enough to afford the privilege won't be going beyond low earth orbit for a few hours.

2 minutes ago, Sauron said:

And right now they'd probably make more if NASA kept buying or leasing their rockets.

Yeah but that's a short sighted view, if nobody else ever makes it up (outside of NASA, the ESA & China) then his entire model collapses. How can he make money from space if he's the only one up there?

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5 minutes ago, Master Disaster said:

How can he make money from space if he's the only one up there?

Satellite maintenance, space mining and in-space construction are the only things that comes to mind.

 

There's also earth-to-earth transportation and special payload delivery.

 

Not sure if it can land with such mass, but imagine transporting hydroelectric dam turbines with rockets. Way easier than planning routes with wide roads, low inclination and big curves, getting permission of all cities/states, getting a scout to stop the roads, temporarily remove electric wires, etc to let the truck move. Just make a landing/launch pad with reinforced concrete and there you have it.

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4 minutes ago, gabrielcarvfer said:

imagine transporting hydroelectric dam turbines with rockets. Way easier than planning routes with wide roads, low inclination and big curves, getting permission of all cities/states, getting a scout to stop the roads, temporarily remove electric wires, etc to let the truck move. Just make a landing/launch pad with reinforced concrete and there you have it.

...

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11 minutes ago, Kilrah said:

...

*pipe dream*

Imagine building an Belo Monte, Itaipu, Hoover, Niagara, Three Gorges dams with most problematic components arriving that "easily".

 

Of course I prefer airships, but they require too much space to land and is such a waste to use helium. :x

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39 minutes ago, Master Disaster said:

Yeah but that's a short sighted view, if nobody else ever makes it up (outside of NASA, the ESA & China) then his entire model collapses. How can he make money from space if he's the only one up there?

Right now the model is "sell rockets to NASA and take rich tourists to space". Anything more is just vagueposting from Musk. You're giving his foresight a bit too much credit... there's plenty of evidence of him being unable to see father than his own nose.

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Sauron'stm Product Scores:

Spoiler

Just a list of my personal scores for some products, in no particular order, with brief comments. I just got the idea to do them so they aren't many for now :)

Don't take these as complete reviews or final truths - they are just my personal impressions on products I may or may not have used, summed up in a couple of sentences and a rough score. All scores take into account the unit's price and time of release, heavily so, therefore don't expect absolute performance to be reflected here.

 

-Lenovo Thinkpad X220 - [8/10]

Spoiler

A durable and reliable machine that is relatively lightweight, has all the hardware it needs to never feel sluggish and has a great IPS matte screen. Downsides are mostly due to its age, most notably the screen resolution of 1366x768 and usb 2.0 ports.

 

-Apple Macbook (2015) - [Garbage -/10]

Spoiler

From my perspective, this product has no redeeming factors given its price and the competition. It is underpowered, overpriced, impractical due to its single port and is made redundant even by Apple's own iPad pro line.

 

-OnePlus X - [7/10]

Spoiler

A good phone for the price. It does everything I (and most people) need without being sluggish and has no particularly bad flaws. The lack of recent software updates and relatively barebones feature kit (most notably the lack of 5GHz wifi, biometric sensors and backlight for the capacitive buttons) prevent it from being exceptional.

 

-Microsoft Surface Book 2 - [Garbage - -/10]

Spoiler

Overpriced and rushed, offers nothing notable compared to the competition, doesn't come with an adequate charger despite the premium price. Worse than the Macbook for not even offering the small plus sides of having macOS. Buy a Razer Blade if you want high performance in a (relatively) light package.

 

-Intel Core i7 2600/k - [9/10]

Spoiler

Quite possibly Intel's best product launch ever. It had all the bleeding edge features of the time, it came with a very significant performance improvement over its predecessor and it had a soldered heatspreader, allowing for efficient cooling and great overclocking. Even the "locked" version could be overclocked through the multiplier within (quite reasonable) limits.

 

-Apple iPad Pro - [5/10]

Spoiler

A pretty good product, sunk by its price (plus the extra cost of the physical keyboard and the pencil). Buy it if you don't mind the Apple tax and are looking for a very light office machine with an excellent digitizer. Particularly good for rich students. Bad for cheap tinkerers like myself.

 

 

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