NASA said that the launch event and launch of the Space Launch System, which is planned to be the most powerful rocket in the world due to a malfunctioning engine computer, will not take place in February 2022 as planned. It was shared that the problem occurred in the computer located in one of the four RS-25 engines that went back to the space shuttle. Things are failing at NASA
Orion, officially known as the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, is the largest and state-of-the-art vehicle designed by NASA for multi-purpose space travel, weighing 74,000 pounds (33.5 metric tons). This shuttle is intended to carry a crew of four astronauts to targets beyond low Earth orbit (LEO).
Developed by NASA to launch the Space Launch System, Orion’s primary mission is to facilitate exploration of Mars, asteroids and human beings. Of course, it can be used to transport the crew or supplies of the International Space Station when necessary.
It is currently undergoing integrated tests inside the vehicle assembly building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. If successful, it would set the stage for a real launch to be used in Artemis 1’s mission to and from the Moon. NASA plans to use the 332-foot-tall (101-meter) rocket for upcoming Moon missions. However, the error encountered in the last test has delayed the date when we will see the real-life functioning of this project. However, it is said that the wait will not be too long.
It is said to be the most powerful rocket in the world when completed. But it’s likely SpaceX will take that feat away from NASA, with Starship scheduled to launch for the first time next year. However, the space agency will once again be able to write its name in history with this rocket. As NASA conducts the integrated test, it ensures that the core stage, Orion, and the two booster rockets are properly communicating with ground systems. During a recent power test of this stage, engineers identified a problem with the RS-25 engine flight controller. The agency described this problem as follows:
The flight controller works as the brain for each RS-25 engine. It communicates with the SLS rocket to provide precise control of the engine as well as internal health diagnostics. Each controller is equipped with two channels. Thus, in case of a problem in one of the channels during take-off or exit, it has a backup. In the final test, the controller’s B channel on the fourth motor failed to supply power continuously.
In fact, the Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 engines were borrowed from the space shuttle program. However, some improvements have been made on it to provide additional power. After the engineers identified the problem, they made investigations and started the fix. However, they eventually decided to replace the problematic motor controller.
Upon this, NASA said that the rocket became fully functional. But engineers will try to work on the problem part and figure out its source. The space agency is now reviewing launch days in March and April. If the timelines announced in October by Artemis 1 task manager Mike Sarafin remain valid, they will be performed at the specified time.