NASA tested the Artemis lunar rocket before launching
(CNN) – NASA officials say NASA’s Artemis I lunar mega-rocket could face another attempt at its critical ground test before launch next week.
Engineers test the 322-foot (98 m) Artemis I rocket deck with its final steps at the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. They met this Thursday Hydrogen leakage problem.
An important test, called the wet suit rehearsal, simulates all stages of the launch without the rocket leaving the launch pad. This operation involves loading the impulse, launching a full countdown simulation, resetting the countdown clock and emptying the rocket outlets.
“Prevented” the result of a hydrogen leak test
The team was able to load Supergold’s on the main stage tanks of the SLS rocket, but “the tail service mast encountered a liquid hydrogen leak in the navel, which prevented the crew from completing the test,” the agency said.
“After fixing the problem, the team decided to call it a day because when there is a hydrogen leak, when you have ambient oxygen, you need an ignition proof to close the fire triangle. So this is a burning risk.” Mike said. Sarafin, director of the Artemis mission at NASA headquarters, during a news conference Friday.
The technicians collected the data and filtered the tanks to make sure the rocket was safe and stable. Despite the leak, the team was able to work through a series of critical tests during the third attempt.
“The lunar mega-rocket is fine,” Sarafin said. “All the problems we face are practical and lessons learned.”
Now, the test team is still evaluating how to fix the leak. Troubleshooting began Friday morning.
Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Artemis launch manager for NASA’s Exploration Earth Systems project, said the team would “look at these specific areas that we think might be the problem and how to approach them” and determine the way forward. This Friday.
Try the next test
Meanwhile, the team is preparing for the next possible opportunity of another wet dress rehearsal effort on April 21, which will make the group more comfortable, Sarafin said. The Artemis team is working closely with SpaceX as the Crew-4 launch is expected to take place on April 23 at a nearby launch site.
With just 24 hours to go before the breakout, Sarafin has not released a definite plan to keep the run track, but said the team is looking at “easily accessible” options.
“Something here is simple and we hope it needs to be fixed or fixed easily, and we can do it on stage and in a very short period of time,” Sarafin said. “Then there are some more aggressive options, and we have to weigh them against a number of considerations, including putting extra pressure on the vehicle.”
The rocket will stay on the launch pad for a long time and it will be subjected to wind and other pressure factors. It can be determined when the space center re-enters the building in the vehicle assembly building.
Ambitious work articles
Asked if it was possible to start Artemis I without completing certain aspects of a full test, the team said it would face an acceptable level of risk. But ground and aircraft testing projects have not been completed, so the team has not yet come to that review, Sarafin said.
The goal of the wet suit rehearsal is to learn about issues that can be fixed before stopping the launch attempt, and this is something that both Apollo and the shuttle projects faced, Blackwell-Thompson said.
The first spacecraft underwent five or six fuel tests before launch. Also, there was only one stage in the spacecraft, whereas the SLS rocket has a center and upper level, which must be fueled by Supercold Propellant, which further complicates the process.
Sarafin said the team talks from time to time with staff who have worked on previous projects, comparing the challenges of physics, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, supercold temperature, structural stresses and burning hazards.
“History shows that it was a challenge for almost everyone who did anything of this size,” Sarafin said.
The test results will set a release date
The results of the Wet Clothing Rehearsal will determine when the uncrowned Artemis I will begin its mission to go beyond the Moon and return to Earth. The mission will launch NASA’s Artemis project, which is expected to return humans to the moon and land the first woman and first person on the lunar surface in 2025.
“But I have no doubt we will be ready to fly after the test campaign is over,” Blackwell-Thompson said.