Lightning struck the launch pad of NASA’s Artemis 1 giant lunar rocket several times on Saturday (April 2), but the rocket is in good health and is on its way to a critical test.
Four lightning strikes hit the area around Launch Pad 39B, the first for NASA space launch system (SLS) megarocket is subject to a Three-day refueling test Known as “wet dress rehearsal” for Artemis 1 A mission to the moon later this year. The missile is shielded from lightning by three turrets and a chain wire structure to divert strikes to the ground away from the booster.
The first three strikes of lightning were relatively low-energy events, according to NASA officials wrote in the update late on Saturday. But the fourth blow that hit the First Tower from the lightning protection system was even stronger. YouTube Space Googlevesaire Capture a clip of the lightning bolt From a live video feed of NASA to test refueling.
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“One of the strikes last night was the most powerful we’ve seen since we installed our new lightning protection system,” Jeremy Parsons books, deputy director of NASA Exploration Ground Systems, who is tweeting the test live for the agency. “It hit a catenary running between the three towers. The system performed very well and kept the SLS and Orion safe. We’re glad we’ve beefed up the protection since the shuttle!”
Parsons said that NASA has upgraded the Pad 39B’s lightning protection system to include better protection against strikes and better disconnection of the power supply to the launchers. Each of its towers is surmounted by a fiberglass mast and catenary wires to divert lightning away from the missile and its service structure, he added.
“The new system also contains an array of sensors, both on the ground and on the mobile launcher, that will help determine the state of the missile after a nearby lightning strike, which could prevent days of delay,” Parsons wrote. In a separate post.
At the time of Saturday’s lightning strikes, the main stage of the Artemis 1 SLS and . rocket was Orion spacecraft It turned on, but the rocket’s side-mounted solid boosters and temporary cryogenic thrust stage were off, according to a NASA update.
Early Sunday, NASA Artemis 1 launch controllers gathered to review data from lightning strikes and rehearsal progress, finally giving the Space Launch System rocket a chance to start operating at 7:20 a.m. EDT (1120 GMT). ).
Rehearsal testing began this weekend on April 1 and is a complete countdown to the launch of the Artemis 1 mission. During the test, crews on the ground will fill the base stage with 700,000 gallons of supercooled liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen fuel.
Artemis 1 is NASA’s first SLS mission under the agency’s Artemis program to return astronauts to the Moon by 2025 or so. Artemis 1 will be an unmanned flight around the moon to test the space launch system and the Orion crew capsule, which holds a suite of experiments and a Mannequin covered with sensors.
NASA will provide an update on the results of the Artemis 1 refueling test at a press conference on Monday (April 4) at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT).
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