SLS Liquid Hydrogen Tank Test Article Loaded into Test Stand

SLS liquid hydrogen tank (Credit: NASA/Tyler Martin)

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.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Dream on. Falcon 1, 5, and 9 all used the same subsystems. and structural technology. This is a major architectural design change. Ahead lies learning how to, probably 3d print the structural panels, join them together, test them, then integrate them with the rest of the subsystems. Time, that’s going to take time, a lot of time. And who was let go in that purge? Was it the old BFR guard? Did he throw everybody out who opposed him in his change? If so, BFR may have just lost the core it built up over the past 5 years. I’ll bet Starship/Super Heavy is a nightmare shop to work at. Man what I’d give to hang out at the gate of that tent in LA where they were spinning carbon components for the carbon ship.

    They’re not going to be halting Falcon production any time soon.

  • publiusr

    I don’t see it blowing away in the wind though. An F-3 couldn’t stop MAF–just slow it down. Starhopper can’t fight a breeze 😉

  • publiusr

    I want to see it used for wet stage stations–like Convair’s Atlas stations were going to be..