NASA drops a clanger as it damages SLS tank dome “beyond repair”

by | May 12, 2017 | Launches, NASA, Seradata News, Technology

The credibility of NASA’s uber-expensive heavy-lift rocket programme, SLS, is in jeopardy. This follows NASA’s admission that its first flight would be delayed for financial reasons and because of the damage inflicted on one of it tanks after it was dropped. Nasawatch.com reports sources saying that the liquid oxygen (LOx) tank dome for the SLS under construction was dropped and is damaged beyond repair. The accident also damaged some tooling. An investigation into the accident and an assessment of its consequences is under way.

SLS Liquid Oxygen tank showing dome end. Courtesy: NASA/Steven Seipel

Along with financial issues, this means that the first operational flight of the Orion spacecraft (in unmanned condition despite suggestions of a manned flight) has been delayed from November 2018 until 2019 at the earliest.

Comment by David Todd: The US$18 billion (and rising) SLS now looks likely to be a disastrously expensive interim rocket with a very short lifespan indeed. Yes, at the time of the SLS selection NASA did need a heavy-lift rocket (the much more powerful commercial designs of SpaceX and Blue Origin were not even on the drawing board then). But a much cheaper option would have been the US$6 billion Sidemount design, which was much closer to the Space Shuttle configuration. This could have been transitioned to while the Space Shuttle was still flying (it would have used the same pad infrastructure). Sidemount would now be operational had NASA chosen this course. Instead it will become a footnote as the NASA heavy-lift workhorse that got away.

NASA has to show both the critics of HLVs and the US taxpayer that investing in SLS was worthwhile – if only as an interim rocket. To do this NASA must actually use it – and as quickly and as much as possible. That means using the SLS Block 1 now. It can do this by giving up on the EUS (Exploration Upper Stage) development and freeing up this money to fly SLS as soon as possible. Later, the current SLS upper stage could be stretched, perhaps by adding new LOx/Kerosene boosters to up its payload.

 

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned Seradata database. Trusted by over 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, Seradata is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to https://www.seradata.com/product/

Related Articles

Categories

Archives

Tags

nasaspacexecoreviewsissesaArianespacevideochinaFalcon 9v1.2FT Block 525virgin galacticULAfalcon 9RoscosmosevaDGAspacewalkaviation weekInternational Space StationaressoyuzIGTRocket LabBlue OriginBeidouawardsStarlinkspaceSatellite broadcastingrussiaAirbus DSboeingmoonISROOneWebCargo Return VehiclemarsblogresearchspaceshiptwojaxaorionmarsimpactdelayhyperbolaEutelsatdemocratrocketlunarhypertextobamagoogle lunar prizelaunchVegaSESbarack obamaconstellationtourismnorthfiguresthales alenia spacespaceflightIntelsatnode 2fundedRaymond Lygo2009Lockheed MartinExpress MD-2Elon MuskAtlas Vromess2dassault aviationaviationLucy2008wk2sstlukradiosuborbitaltestmissiledocking portexplorationAriane 5 ECAVirgin OrbitinternetLong March 2D/2sts-122SLSNorthrop GrummanChina Manned Space EngineeringAriane 5missile defensenewspapercotsgalileospace tourismflight2010ElectronLong March 4CspaceportExpress AMU 1buildspace stationaltairsoyuz 2-1aProton Minternational astronautical congressshuttlespace shuttlescaled compositesIntelsat 23European Space AgencyLauncherOneCosmosnew yorkrulesAriane 6hanleybudgetatvVietnamshenzhoucongressMojaveboldennew shepardLong March 2CInmarsatOrbital ATKcnesiaclunar landerGuiana Space CenterkscApollolawsUS Air ForceSpace Systems/LoralUK Space AgencyLong March 4BKuaizhou 1AILSprotondarpaTalulah RileyElectron KSFalcon 9v1.2 Block 5Vega CNorth KoreaeuAstriumSkylonpicturebaseusaastronautdragonlanderfiveeventTelesatSSLAprilSNC50thinterviewLong MarchSea LaunchfalconWednesdaycustomerlinkatlantissuccessor

Stay Informed with Seradata

Stay informed on the latest news, insights, and more from Seradata by signing up for our newsletter.