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The ATK and NASA investigation team continues to analyze the anomaly that occurred during the countdown for Thursday's ground test of the Ares I first stage developmental motor.
The anomaly occurred in one of the Auxiliary Power Units (APU), a system in the Thrust Vector Control that moves the nozzle. Although the APU's are redundant and the system is designed and tested to work with just one APU, we wanted both APUs operating to ensure we could gather all of the critical data required of this test. By choosing to scrub, we have not compromised any of the motor’s components, thereby preserving our ability to meet all of our 46 test objectives.
We have learned that one of the fuel valves in the APU fuel supply system did not open as commanded at start-up, preventing fuel from entering the APU gas generator. Since this APU is the same as is used on the Space Shuttle, our first priority was to determine that the APU hardware was not at issue and clear the STS-128 mission for launch. Our team was able to successfully demonstrate that the APU valve on our DM-1 motor was functional during troubleshooting late Thursday night.
The investigation is now focused on the Ground Test Controller, which is part of the heritage space shuttle solid rocket motor test equipment and unique to the ground test configuration. The team is now performing engineering tests and equipment checks to determine whether it was a software or hardware issue within the Ground Test Controller or associated equipment. These activities will continue through the weekend. Therefore, the test will not occur on Tuesday, Sept. 1. A thorough review of the data collected this weekend will be conducted Monday, Aug. 31. After this review we will publish an update to our test schedule.
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