(ORDO NEWS) — The long-awaited launch of the Space Launch System, traditionally for the entire Artemis program, again faced delays. This time – directly during the pre-launch preparation for the first flight.
The principle better safe than sorry (something like “God saves the safe”) works flawlessly, but now it is not known when the rocket will still take off.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States ( NASA ) in the official blog of the Artemis program reported that ground infrastructure engineers are collecting additional data.
The launch director stopped the pre-launch countdown 40 minutes before launch time. The reason is the abnormal readings of the sensors during engine testing.
By this time, the first and second stages were completely filled with fuel components (liquid oxygen and hydrogen), and the engines were tested with a weak hydrogen flow ( bleed test ).
Nominally, all four RS-25s were supposed to cool down smoothly to threshold temperatures at which the pumping of cryogenic fuel and oxidizer in the operating mode would not damage the pipelines.
But something went wrong, and the performance of the third engine went beyond the permissible limits.
It should be noted that a few hours earlier, even during the replenishment of the first stage tanks, a hydrogen leak occurred. A similar problem has already been encountered at the dress rehearsals of the start ( wet dress rehearsal ).
Apparently, this time the leakage volumes were lower, so the pre-launch countdown was resumed.
Although it was not without nervous reactions: some media managed to write that the launch was again postponed and would take place no earlier than Friday, September 2.
Two consecutive delays in pre-launch preparations left the ground infrastructure engineers no time to fix issues with the third engine.
The launch window for August 29 was only two hours (one of which was “eaten” by meteorologists), therefore, since it was not possible to quickly deal with the anomalous bleed test , the launch had to be canceled.
Now the first and second stages of the SLS will begin draining the fuel components, which will take several hours.
NASA employees will be able to get close to the relatively safe ( Orion ship will remain refueled) to analyze the equipment personally.
Recall that the mission “Artemis-1” ( Artemis I ) is a test one. During it, they want to work out most of the procedures for further manned flights under the new American program for the exploration of the moon.
The Orion ship without a crew and with an incomplete set of life support equipment will spend up to a month and a half in space.
Together with him, a dozen research microsatellites will go to the Moon. The next SLS flight will take place no earlier than a year after the first – and already with the crew aboard Orion .
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