What will happen next?
Technicians will make final preparations, including connecting power and fuel lines to the rocket and launch tower. Although the launch is earlier, the target time for my Artemis launch hasn’t changed: Monday, August. At 7:33 PM ET. You can subscribe here to receive a launch reminderas well as other cosmic events, in your personal digital calendar.
What are the Space Launch System and Orion and why are they important?
The Space Launch System and Orion are two key components of NASA’s plans to return astronauts to the lunar surface in the coming years. Getting there requires a rocket powerful enough to propel a large spacecraft from low Earth orbit to the Moon an additional 240,000 miles. Orion is a capsule designed to carry astronauts on space journeys lasting up to several weeks.
What problems did you encounter during the dress rehearsal?
NASA first rolled the SLS rocket onto the launch pad in mid-March. In early April, he attempted a “wet dress rehearsal” of the countdown procedures, including loading more than 700,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen rocket propellants. However, technical glitches, including a hydrogen leak during three practice attempts, cut the countdown short.
NASA then returned the rocket to the Vehicle Assembly Building for repairs. In June, the rocket returned to the launch pad for another attempt at wetsuit training. That attempt was met with a different hydrogen leak on June 20 at the fuel line connector to the rocket’s booster stage. However, the fuel tanks were fully filled for the first time and controllers were able to continue the exercise until the countdown ended with 29 seconds remaining. Initially, the goal was to stop the countdown in less than 10 seconds when the engines started for actual start-up.
Despite the leak, NASA officials decided that all critical systems had been sufficiently tested and declared the test a success. The rocket headed back to the Vehicle Assembly Building for final preparations, including the installation of a flight termination system, which would detonate the rocket if it malfunctioned during launch, eliminating the possibility of hitting a populated area.
The batteries for the flight termination system were installed in August. Ordinance 11 would normally last only 20 days, but the US Space Force, which oversees launches from Florida, refused to give NASA an extension to 25 days. This allows August. 29 release date, as well as back-up opportunities in September. 2 and September 5.
NASA hopes to fix the hydrogen leak, but won’t know for sure until August. 29 countdown when the fuel line cools to extremely cold temperatures, something that cannot be tested in the Automotive Assembly Building.