NASA’s Artemis 1 moon rocket might be grounded for at least 4 extra days.
NASA had been eyeing Sept. 23 or Sept. 27 for the launch of Artemis 1, which can use a Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket to ship an Orion capsule on an uncrewed take a look at flight to lunar orbit. But the company introduced in a weblog submit Monday night (Sept. 12) that the earlier date is now not in play; it is now concentrating on Sept. 27 for the Artemis 1 liftoff, with a potential backup date of Oct. 2.
Artemis 1 was supposed to be aloft already. NASA first tried launching the mission on Aug. 29 however was stymied by an anomalous temperature studying in a single of the SLS’ first-stage RS-25 engines. The mission staff quickly traced that concern to a defective temperature sensor and received the SLS and Orion prepared for one more strive on Sept. 3. But a leak of liquid hydrogen propellant scuttled that liftoff try as nicely.
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The leak occurred at a “quick disconnect,” an interface linking the SLS core stage with a propellant line coming from the rocket’s cellular launch tower. The Artemis 1 staff changed two seals round the fast disconnect final week and wrapped up different restore work associated to the concern over the weekend, NASA officers wrote in the replace.
NASA is now gearing up for an SLS fueling take a look at, which can pump supercold propellant into the SLS to present that the leak has certainly been mounted. The company had been concentrating on Sept. 17 for that take a look at, however it has now been pushed again to no sooner than Sept. 21.
“The updated dates represent careful consideration of multiple logistical topics, including the additional value of having more time to prepare for the cryogenic demonstration test, and subsequently more time to prepare for the launch,” NASA officers wrote in Monday’s blog post (opens in new tab). “The dates also allow managers to ensure teams have enough rest and to replenish supplies of cryogenic propellants.”
The Artemis 1 stack stays at Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, however it could find yourself having to roll again to KSC’s enormous Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). The U.S. Space Force, which oversees the Eastern Range for rocket launches, licensed Artemis 1’s flight termination system (FTS) for only a 25-day stretch — and that point is already up.
NASA has requested an extension for the certification of the FTS, which is designed to destroy the Artemis 1 stack if it veers off beam throughout liftoff. If that request is denied, the car can have to be rolled off Pad 39B to the VAB, the solely place the place the testing required for recertification can happen. (Artemis 1 might need to return to the VAB for repairs anyway, if the fixes made at the pad do not find yourself sticking.)
“NASA is continuing to respect the Eastern Range’s process for review of the agency’s request for an extension of the current testing requirement for the flight termination system and is providing additional information and data as needed,” NASA wrote in Monday’s replace. “In parallel, the agency is continuing preparations for the cryogenic demonstration test and potential launch opportunities, should the request be approved.”
NASA has already obtained one such FTS extension, from 20 days to 25 days.
The two upcoming liftoff dates for Artemis 1 are shut to that of SpaceX’s Crew-5 astronaut mission for NASA, which is scheduled to launch towards the International Space Station from KSC’s Pad 39A on Oct. 3.
“Teams are working the upcoming commercial crew launch in parallel to the Artemis 1 planning, and both launch schedules will continue to be assessed over the coming weeks,” NASA officers wrote in Monday’s replace.
Mike Wall is the writer of “(*1*) (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a guide about the seek for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).