back to article Happy Artemis Day everybody! NASA preps its monster rocket for testing

A fair bit happened in the world of space this week, with NASA showing off its mighty booster as Boeing looked set to end 2019 with a jaunt to the International Space Station. The American space agency gifted card-makers with something new to flog this time next year, as it declared 9 December as "Artemis Day" by showing off …

  1. Alister Silver badge

    Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream, NASA's mighty booster is going to let off steam.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While the powerplant ran at up to 104.5 per cent of power during a Shuttle launch, the SLS requires 111 per cent.

    One assumes that this limitation was confirmed by a Scottish gentleman in a red shirt declaring that "she cannae take any more, captain!"

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Unfortunately it represents (I think) the not unreasonable decision to leave '100%' at the first specification. Subsequent design revisions allowed for additional power, hence the rather odd 'throttling to 104%' call outs.

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        "Yes, but these go to 11"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          And it does Dubly!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Flying to the none-more-blackness of space

      2. Stevie Silver badge


        Hahaha. Good one.

        Nope, it has to do with the nominal designed working <whatever> of <whatever>, and engineers designing stuff to work outside that safety envelope for a bit (guv). In the case of the shuttle, it would be the rated thrust specification.

        Hence "Take the reactor to 110% Mr Christian and be quick about it or we'll never catch the Red October".

        Or so I'm told. My original thought was that it was due to the problems of using calculators that work in metric but that once they've had the mode changed, no-one can figure out how to put them back in Imperial Units because the inch-thick manual has been lost for yonks.

      3. Precordial thump

        It's due to the US's stubborn refusal to adopt metric units. They're clearly using imperial %s. Remember, that's why they lost that Mars orbiter.

  3. Vulch

    Also SpaceX

    Falcon 9 launch in the early hours of the morning sent a comsat on its way to GEO. The first stage made its landng on Of Course I Still Love You, but both fairing catchers (first time two have tried, last launch they both set out but had to return to port because of weather) narrowly missed.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Also SpaceX

      Shush, this is about NASA, let's not mention the Person Exporting Detritus to Orbit.

    2. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

      Re: Also SpaceX

      It seems SpaceX launches with successful stage 1 recovery are now so common they don't rate a mention. I think that's a pretty good measure of success in the high risk field of rocket engineering: to become so routine you are no longer newsworthy.

  4. Pete 2

    Rocket powered barge?

    > The stage is now set to soon take a trip to the agency's Stennis Space Center via barge for final tests

    There could be a water speed record about to be broken!

  5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Hope they announce the launch in good time

    I'd always wanted to be at Kennedy for a Saturn V launch, but I was 10 and my parents couldn't have taken me. Maybe this time I can get there.

  6. Stevie Silver badge


    Wait, Artemis gets a day named for it because it is being tested?

    Fuck that. I declare today "Annoying perl thing I dreamed up to be thoroughly useful but which keeps crashing thanks to some stupid only-onna-Tuesday bug in a library file" day.

    When it flies, *then* the rocket can have its day.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      Some of our younger commentards might live long enough to see that day - assuming some major advancements in medicine and cryogenics over the next fifty years.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Imhotep

      Re: Quiet thought

      I believe the plan is to put a cheaper, expendable version of the RS-25 in to production for use on the SLS.

      1. RegGuy1

        Re: Quiet thought

        expendable version of the RS-25

        Well I have a spare RS-232 if that helps.

  8. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    16 RS-25 engines

    Assuming that they can flight ready the ones used for testing, does this mean the SLS design has a maximum life of four launches? Or are they building more engines?

    1. herman Silver badge

      Re: 16 RS-25 engines

      Maybe they’ll get some more scrap engines from Russia for a couple more rockets...

    2. Brangdon Bronze badge

      Re: 16 RS-25 engines

      They are building more engines. The contract for this is now locked in, even though Starship will likely make them redundant (such are the time scales involved). Presumably Boeing will make a lot of money from the cancellation clause.

  9. Kharkov

    Embarrasing Moment Incoming...

    Somewhere between now & 2021, NASA is going to have an SLS standing straight & tall on the launch pad, with the public taking notice for the first time (Right now, the average American doesn't know SLS even exists) and you can bet that Elon-who-must-not-be-named will have a Falcon Heavy or even a Starship (What, he couldn't just call it 'Coolname'?) sitting on the launch pad next door, possibly with a sign saying, "This costs less than 150 million dollars and has flown several times." leading to... a rather unfortunate series of comparisons, beginning and ending with, "Why does one cost 10x more than the other?"

    And then sit back with the popcorn and watch the fireworks...

    1. Spherical Cow Bronze badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Embarrasing Moment Incoming...

      Metaphorical fireworks only, I hope. But seeing them both standing erect on launch pads next to each other would be amazing! (Regardless of the relative costs)

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