NASA is going to scrap SLS for repairs

(ORDO NEWS) — Late on April 16, NASA announced that it would roll the Space Launch System rocket off the launch pad for various repairs, further delaying the long-awaited first launch of the rocket.

In an April 16 statement, NASA said it plans to return the SLS to the Assembly Building (VAB) “in connection with the upgrade of the nitrogen gas supply system used for testing,” the agency said. Problems with the supply of nitrogen gas used to power site activities have delayed the previous two countdown rehearsals.

NASA has not said when the craft will return from Launch Complex 39B, from where it rolled out on March 17, to VAB. The agency said it would hold a briefing on its plans on April 18.

The agency added that the time spent at the VAB would be used to repair a faulty helium check valve in the SLS upper stage and a hydrogen leak discovered shortly after the start of loading liquid hydrogen into the rocket core during the April 14 launch attempt.

This was the first time the controllers had reached this countdown stage after technical problems halted two previous attempts before liquid hydrogen loading could begin.

The leak occurred on the ground side of the contact plate on the tail service mast of the mobile launch vehicle, not on the SLS itself.

“The good news is that there are only a few items in this purge case, and there are a couple that could be the culprit,” Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Artemis launch director, said during an April 15 briefing.

At this briefing, representatives of the agency expressed some optimism about the elimination of the problem on the site.

Mike Sarafin, NASA’s Artemis Mission Director, said these potential sources of the leak represent easy fixes and another dress rehearsal, possibly as early as April 21st.

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