Foils for ‘large’ hydrogen leaks NASA’s Artemis I mission schedule
NASA’s Artemis I: Engineers are considering various solutions for the SLS rocket.
NASA confirmed today that it will not attempt to launch its Space Launch System in the coming days, foregoing potential launch windows on Monday and Tuesday. The announcement comes after two failed launch attempts of the enormous rocket, and will most certainly result in a several-week delay.
The Space Launch System was supposed to make its debut on August 29th, 2022. (SLS). That launch attempt was canceled after engineers discovered a problem with one of the rocket’s four engines. A persistent hydrogen leak, characterized as “significant” by Artemis mission manager Michael Sarafin at a press briefing following the scrub, thwarted a second launch attempt today. During the 29th attempt, a tiny hydrogen leak was also discovered, although it was much greater.
The launch, whenever it occurs, will be the first for NASA’s SLS, a highly expensive, extremely delayed rocket in development for more than a decade. The rocket was supposed to launch an unmanned capsule dubbed Orion on the Artemis I mission. The mission is intended to be a test flight that will pave the way for future missions that will transport astronauts to the Moon.
the next NASA’s Artemis I lunch date
NASA has not disclosed the date of the next Artemis I launch attempt but expects to have a clearer idea within a few days. Engineers are concentrating on a component of the fuelling system that aids in the delivery of liquid hydrogen fuel into the rocket. They can swiftly disengage from the rocket after fueling. This “fast disconnect” has a seal around it to prevent hydrogen from leaking out, known as “soft goods.” One possible approach is to remove and replace the soft items surrounding the quick disconnect.
The engineering teams are currently determining whether it is preferable to perform this replacement and troubleshoot any other difficulties back in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) or to remain on the pad. Both approaches have risks and rewards. As Sarafin pointed out, if NASA remained on the pad, they could test the system at cryogenic temperatures, giving them a better sense of how it would react during a real launch.
The disadvantage is that NASA would also need to construct an environmental enclosure to remain at the pad. If they returned to the VAB, the structure would operate as an environmental enclosure. However, while NASA can replace and test the defective elements inside the VAB, it can only do so at room temperature, not cryogenic temperatures.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson indicated shortly after the second launch scrub on Saturday that if the SLS returns to the VAB for repairs, the next launch attempt would most likely be in mid to late October, after a planned human mission to the International Space Station lifts off earlier that month. It takes many hours to roll the megarocket back to the VAB.
There’s also another complication. Another timer began as the rocket rolled out to the launch pad on August 16th. NASA had 20 days to launch the rocket before it was rolled back to test the batteries in its flight termination mechanism. The rocket’s termination system allows the Space Force to destroy the rocket if something goes wrong during the launch and flight. NASA received permission to extend it to 25 days, but that time is almost up. Unless NASA receives another extension, it will have to return to the VAB.
“We do not launch until we believe it is appropriate,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson stated during a press conference. “So I see this as part of our space program, and safety is at the top of our priority list.”
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