The third attempt wasn’t the magic of NASA’s Artemis 1 moon mission.
Today (April 14), the space agency has called off its latest attempt to refuel the massive Artemis 1 space launch system (SLS), a crucial part of the “mission rehearsal” at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Artemis 1 Team members detected a leak of liquid hydrogen (LH2) — one of the two SLS fuels, along with liquid oxygen (LOX) — during tank operations. This brought today’s refueling activity to a halt, as well as other major wet wear actions.
The team will keep [SLS] The primary stage of the LH2 tank is at about 5% and the LOX loading of the primary stage will remain off. The team will not conduct final countdown activities today as planned and will assess the next steps after today’s operations,” Jeremy Parsons, deputy director of the NASA Earth Exploration Systems Team at KSC, He said on Twitter this afternoon.
Live updates: NASA’s Artemis 1 moon mission
Related: NASA’s Artemis 1 moon mission explained in pictures
As its name suggests, Artemis 1 will be NASA’s first mission Artemis program Moon exploration. Artemis 1 will send an unmanned Orion capsule on a nearly month-long trip around the moon, with the goal of showing that the SLS and Orion are ready for manned missions.
Rehearsal is one of the most important pre-launch steps for Artemis 1. The multi-day test allows mission team members to practice many of the key actions leading up to takeoff, including—as noted above—fueling the SLS and launching a countdown.
NASA began wearing the Artemis 1 wet dress on April 1 and was planning to wrap it up on April 3. but many times Technical problems appeared, twice thwarted efforts to load fuel into SLS tanks. The expedition team initially postponed and eventually canceled the test, to accommodate the special launch AX-1 Astronaut Missionwhich took off from a nearby podium at KSC on April 8.
The plan was to resume the wet dress on April 11. But team members soon discovered a defective valve in the portable launch tower of the Artemis 1 stack, a problem that pushed the start of the procedure to April 12 and caused a problem. Modify the test design: The team decided to only feed the base stage of the SLS, not its top stage either.
The wet dress was supposed to wrap up today (April 14), but that didn’t happen, since the mission team won’t be doing the scheduled simulated countdown. We’ll have to keep in touch to find out more about the agency’s next steps.
Uncertainty also surrounds the Artemis 1 release date; Agency officials said that NASA will not place one until they have finished wearing the wet clothes and have analyzed the resulting data.
Artemis 1 is a precursor to Artemis 2, which is expected to launch astronauts around the moon in 2024. Artemis 3 will land near the moon’s south pole in 2025 or 2026, if all goes according to plan.
Mike Wall is the author of “AbroadBook (Great Grand Publishing House, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the search for extraterrestrials. Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed. Follow us on Twitter Tweet embed or on Facebook.
“Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst.”