NASA’s ‘Mega Moon Rocket’ Made First Flight and Ready for Manned Artemis II Launch – TechCrunch

NASA’s ‘Mega Moon Rocket’ Made First Flight and Ready for Manned Artemis II Launch – TechCrunch

The massive Space Launch System passed its initial test with flying colors, NASA’s preliminary analysis concludes, and the rocket and Orion capsule are ready for their next mission: Artemis II, which will carry a crew to lunar orbit.

After numerous delays and massive cost overruns, some feared that the SLS (nicknamed the “Mega Moon Rocket”) would never actually get off the ground. But the launch in November (mostly) went smoothlyas is the 25-day mission carried out by an unmanned Orion capsule.

While the success was obvious, it wasn’t all or nothing. Masses of data had to be analyzed by NASA’s teams to ensure that Artemis I would not succeed despite serious problems. Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case: While the teams are still working on the terabytes of raw data, the agency has stated the mission statement well enough to endorse the follow-up.

“Building on the assessment conducted shortly after launch, the preliminary post-flight data indicates that all SLS systems performed exceptionally and that the designs are ready to support crewed flight on Artemis II,” NASA wrote in a news report.

To emphasize this point, SLS program manager John Honeycutt is quoted as saying:

The correlation between actual flight performance and predicted performance for Artemis I was excellent. There is technique and an art to successfully building and launching a rocket, and the analysis of the SLS rocket’s inaugural flight puts NASA and its partners in a good position to power missions for Artemis II and beyond.

Key pressures, temperatures and other values ​​were all within 2 percent of predictions. No doubt the team is working to reduce that delta even now.

Artemis II’s manned mission clearly depended entirely on the success of Artemis I, and this is the clearest indication since launch that the SLS and Orion are measurably good enough. It’s a big step to say, “Yeah, we’re moving forward with putting astronauts on this thing,” but obviously there’s still a lot of work to be done before it happens. The Artemis I timeline didn’t exactly go as planned, but after verifying that the rocket is working as expected, it may help speed up the next part of NASA’s grand plan to return to the moon.

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