Impressive, almost a half-million gallons (US) of liquid Hydrogen.
NASA: The largest piece of structural test hardware for America’s new deep space rocket, the Space Launch System, was loaded into Test Stand 4693 at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama Jan. 14, 2019. The liquid hydrogen tank is part of the rocket’s core stage that is more than 200 feet tall with a diameter of 27.6 feet, and stores cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that will feed the vehicle’s RS-25 engines. The liquid hydrogen tank test article is structurally identical to the flight version of the tank that will comprise two-thirds of the core stage and hold 537,000 gallons of supercooled liquid hydrogen at minus 423 degrees Fahrenheit. Dozens of hydraulic cylinders in the 215-foot-tall test stand will push and pull the tank, subjecting it to the same stresses and loads it will endure during liftoff and flight.
I was watching coverage of the NROL-71 launch and United Launch Alliance usually precedes launch coverage with informative topics. One of the ones today was the fireball at launch time, just before leaving the ground.
What happened with the launch? As the rocket was about to fully light – we got to the fireball part – then everything stopped.
At this point I am guessing a 24 hour turn-around but that could be very optimistic so the delay could be longer.
“How Do You Assemble the Largest Rocket Ever Made?” Very carefully.
It’s going to be a busy week with a few live coverage events starting with the launch of Expedition 58 to the International Space Station followed by the arrival of OSIRIS-REx at the asteroid Bennu. Plus a SpaceX launch – see note below.
Then we have a Space X launch of a cargo-spaceship to the International Space Station (a busy place) and the launch of a couple of communications satellites aboard an Ariane V rocket. I believe one of the satellites is a replacement of an Indian satellite for one that failed to reach orbit last April.
So lots of live feeds with replays added later in the day.
Note: Space X is also launching the Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express mission to low Earth orbit tomorrow, so that clears up some scheduling. That launch is from Vandenberg AFB in California.
The image above – click it for a larger version – showing the Antares launch over Washington DC was NASA’s Image of the Day recently. Little wonder, what a great shot, I wanted to share it in case you missed it.
Here’s the caption from NASA: The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard, is seen above the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC, on Nov. 17, 2018. The rocket launched from Pad-0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia that morning. Northrop Grumman’s 10th contracted cargo resupply mission for NASA to the International Space Station will deliver about 7,400 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew.