NASA is looking forward to the vehicle’s next test, HLS Integration


NASA managers in charge of the human deep space mission have spoken positively about the Starship’s latest test flight, the data collected and the design changes that will be incorporated into the next test launch.

While repair work continues on the Starbase launch pad ahead of the test campaign aimed at orbital success continuing this year, SpaceX is expected to launch several tankers and several spaceships before entering into a Human Landing System (HLS) contract. Crew landing craft.

SpaceX was awarded the HLS Option A contract in 2021, which calls for demonstrations of various components of the system.

This includes docking the lander to the Orion spacecraft, transferring the crew from Orion to the lander in lunar orbit, performing additional vehicle operations after landing on the lunar surface, and returning crew and other supplies from the surface.

Option (a) includes unbundled and unbundled demo tasks.

The contract followed the HLS Option B award won by SpaceX in late 2022, which included the Artemis IV mission to the moon. On Friday, NASA is set to announce a second HLS lander option “to develop a stable human landing system for the Artemis V Moon mission.”

NASA’s current schedule calls for a lunar test mission not launched in 2024, ahead of the 2025 Artemis III mission.

Single missions require both a lunar rover and several astronaut launches to allow for in-orbit refueling prior to a trip to the moon. However, the exact number of launches required to refuel is not clear.

Prior to the HLS missions, Starship had been working on an ambitious series of tests, and now it’s underway thanks to the launch of Booster 7 and Ship 24.

Amit Kshatriya, deputy director of the Moon to Mars Program in the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, updated the NASA Advisory Board on Human Exploration and Operations this week.

“[There is] Lots of devices move through Starbase. Of course, you all know that they had a flight test. They traveled about 39 kilometers on the basis of Abuji before the job was completed.”

“We got a lot of data from that mission and are looking forward to the next ship and booster based on combining them and adding design changes.”

Booster 9 and the ship that has not yet been confirmed is ready to fly in the next mission, the first one has a large number of improvements compared to the previous booster.

Booster 9 and friends on the production site. (Good news: Chris Kleindl (@chrisk_91) for NSF/L2

“There are many improvements from Booster 7 to Booster 9, literally hundreds, some of which are significant,” Musk noted during a recent Twitter altercation. “We switched from hydraulic TVC to electric from Booster 7 to Booster 9. The entire basement heat barrier system has been completely redesigned.”

Booster 9 is currently inside the huge bay at the Starbase production base, and all the boosters and extra ships are waiting their turn.

The launch site is the main focus of the work to prepare for the next test. However, the flight stall system (FTS) re-certification required after Booster 7 refused to land when the FTS was activated after initiating a loss of control late during first-stage flight was significant.

An effort-related test took place this week at SpaceX’s Masseys test site, with the B6 test tank successfully opened during the test.

B6 after its possible testing related to the FTS. (Credit: Chris Kleindl (@chrisk_91) for NSF/L2)

“We have a couple of team members in the HLS program who are involved with the FAA and SpaceX,” noted Kshatriya, who often notes and reports that the SpaceX team already knows what they’re doing. I mean, they’re really good. So they understand how to connect their data.

Providing release site adjustments allows the pad to be rotated without the need for long-term repairs. SpaceX could launch several Starbase flights before the end of the year.

This will pave the way for backfill testing prior to entering the HLS bid.
“They work with a dropper and a boil and how that affects the fuel-gathering phase of the mission. So, in terms of talking about it until they settle into the engineering side, I don’t want to get too far down the road. Work on the Starship Crew version is in full swing. for life support systems.

“SpaceX is an integrated partner. I spent 12 hours with the team in Hawthorne and saw what was going on there. That is, based on the production Raptor and all of their ECLSS [Environmental Control and Life Support System] and other developments of the Starship”.

“I tell you we are [NASA] They are in complete partnership with them in terms of how they interpret the data. I’m very confident that SpaceX will be open to our input.

On the Raptor side, another milestone was reached recently when the “Raptor V3” achieved 350-bar chamber pressure and 269 tons of thrust on a test tripod stand at SpaceX’s McGregor Test Stand.

The Starship is currently flying Raptor v2 engines, with additional mods like the electric TVC – coming online from Booster 9. However, before mentioning the “v3” designation for this latest test, Musk already mentioned that another update is coming, which is often referred to as Raptor 2.5. .

The main challenge of the HLS project was related to the many agencies and vendors involved in the Artemis schedule. Musk previously confirmed that the HLS spacecraft wouldn’t be the fastest thing. However, NASA officials cited the Apollo program as the lunar probe was not ready, resulting in a launch without this element.

According to that [schedule]And, you know, we’re looking at all the options, and we’ve asked all of our contractors to deliver as much of their production as possible because, of course, we want to do this job the way we designed it. . But the other important thing, from an insurance standpoint, is to keep flying.

“Therefore, we are asking everyone to lift as many devices as possible for us. And then, like they downloaded during Apollo, depending on where we were with the rest of the preparation, they did missions when the probe wasn’t available, and we’ll pick those missions based on the hardware that’s available. “

“This is our overall strategy, and from a manufacturing standpoint, we think it’s really important to communicate that to all of our vendors, including SpaceX.”

(TOP PHOTO: Booster 7 and Ship 24 on the Starship’s first flight. Credit: Max Evans for NSF)

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(Main image: Starship Doom Somersaults. Credit: Max Evans for NSF/L2)