NASA’s Artemis I mega moon rocket will get one other prelaunch take a look at in June

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The NASA staff is getting ready to roll the 322-foot-tall (98-meter-tall) Artemis I rocket stack, together with the Area Launch System and Orion spacecraft, again to the launchpad at Kennedy Area Middle in Florida later this month.

The essential take a look at, generally known as the moist costume rehearsal, simulates each stage of launch with out the rocket leaving the launchpad. This course of contains loading propellant, going by way of a full countdown simulating launch, resetting the countdown clock and draining the rocket tanks.

After three makes an attempt of the moist costume rehearsal in April, the rocket stack was rolled again into the Car Meeting Constructing on April 26 to handle points that cropped up throughout the take a look at makes an attempt.

To date, the staff has been engaged on changing a defective test valve on the rocket’s higher stage that created a helium leak and repairing the supply of a tail service mast hydrogen leak. In the meantime, Air Liquide, which provides gaseous nitrogen to the launchpad, has been upgrading its pipeline configuration to raised help the testing and launch of Artemis I.

When inspecting the test valve, the staff discovered a small piece of rubber that prevented it from sealing appropriately, stated Jim Free, affiliate administrator for NASA’s Exploration Methods Improvement Mission Directorate, throughout a information convention on Thursday.

NASA's next moon rocket gets final repairs ahead of mission launch

No points had been discovered with the valve, and engineers are investigating the supply of the rubber because it wasn’t initially a part of the valve, Free stated. The staff has additionally narrowed down the potential causes for the hydrogen leak.

As soon as the rocket stack rolls again out to the launchpad in late Could, it’s going to take between 12 and 14 days earlier than the rocket can undergo one other moist costume rehearsal, which might happen in early to mid-June, Free stated.

“We have carried out a variety of work to get the rocket able to roll again out to the launchpad,” stated Cliff Lanham, senior automobile operations supervisor for NASA ‘s Exploration Floor Methods Program at Kennedy Area Middle. “Stopping on the VAB is a pit cease to return again in, do what we have to do and get again out to the pad as shortly as attainable. So we’re working arduous to satisfy that objective.”

NASA puts Artemis moon rocket through crucial paces ahead of launch

The Artemis staff is now taking a look at launch home windows for sending Artemis I on its journey to the moon in late summer time: between July 26 and August 9, August 23 to August 29 and September 2 to September 6.

“We additionally need to be real looking and upfront with you that it could take multiple try to get the procedures the place we’d like them for a smoother launch rely that provides us the very best likelihood to creating our launch home windows,” Free stated.

As soon as the Artemis rocket stack completes its moist costume rehearsal, it’s going to roll again into the constructing to attend for launch day.

There’s a lengthy historical past behind the arduous course of to check new techniques earlier than launching a rocket, and what the Artemis staff is going through is just like what the Apollo and shuttle period groups skilled, together with a number of take a look at makes an attempt and delays earlier than launch.

The outcomes of the moist costume rehearsal will decide when the uncrewed Artemis I’ll launch on a mission that goes past the moon and returns to Earth. This mission will kick off NASA’s Artemis program, which is predicted to return people to the moon and land the primary lady and the primary individual of colour on the lunar floor by 2025.

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