The next launch attempt for Artemis 1 could take place as early as next week, as NASA has met all the goals it set for itself in considering its rocket’s capability. fuel test successful. NASA had to test the addition of supercooled fuel to the Space Launch System tanks to confirm the repairs it made after scrapping the mission’s second launch attempt in late August. The Kennedy Space Center ground crew detected a persistent hydrogen leak affecting one of the SLS’s fuel lines at the time and tried to fix it three times in the same day. In the end, the team was unsuccessful and decided to postpone the mission.
The team determined a few days later that the leak was triggered when the SLS rocket’s center booster tank briefly overpressurized. To prevent the same incident from happening, the team adjusted the procedures for filling the rocket’s tank with propellants, and involves changing temperatures and pressures more slowly to avoid rapid changes that could cause leaks. Team engineers also replaced the rocket’s liquid hydrogen seals after discovering a small dent in one of them that may have contributed to the leak.
While engineers found another hydrogen leak during fuel testing, their troubleshooting efforts worked this time, bringing the leak “within allowable rates.” That allowed them to perform the pre-pressurization test, which raised the pressure level of the liquid hydrogen tank to match what it would experience just before an actual launch.
Artemis 1 Launch Director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said the test went “very well” and that the team was able to achieve all the goals they set for themselves. NASA will now evaluate the data from the test before deciding if it can schedule another launch for the mission on its target date of September 27th.
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