NASA engineers changed leaky seals on two gasoline traces of the Artemis 1 moon rocket over the weekend, setting the stage for a fueling take a look at to see if the repairs labored.
Engineers engaged on the tail of the large Artemis 1 Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket accomplished the seal replacements on Friday (Sept. 9), NASA officers mentioned in an replace.
The restore work is aimed toward plugging a hydrogen gasoline leak in an 8-inch line main into the core stage of the 32-story SLS rocket. That leak pressured NASA to name off a Sept. 3 launch try of Artemis 1, the primary uncrewed take a look at flight of the Artemis program that goals to return astronauts to the moon. While changing that seal, engineers additionally changed the seal on a smaller 4-inch hydrogen “bleed line” that additionally noticed a leak in a scrubbed Aug. 29 launch attempt.
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With the restore work full, NASA is now getting ready for a fueling take a look at to test if the SLS rocket’s hydrogen leaks are certainly mounted. That take a look at may happen as early as Saturday, Sept. 17, and can fill the 322-foot-tall (98 meters) rocket with the 736,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen it wants for launch, NASA has mentioned.
“This demonstration will allow engineers to check the new seals under cryogenic, or supercold, conditions as expected on launch day and before proceeding to the next launch attempt,” NASA wrote within the replace (opens in new tab) on Friday.
On Thursday (Sept. 8), NASA officers mentioned it’s focusing on Sept. 23 for the subsequent Artemis 1 launch try. A Sept. 27 date can be obtainable. Both launch alternatives rely upon NASA fixing the gasoline leak and the SLS rocket passing its fueling take a look at, the company mentioned.
NASA additionally must safe a waiver from the U.S. Space Force so it won’t should roll the SLS again to its Vehicle Assembly Building for traditional exams of the rocket’s flight termination system, a system designed to destroy the rocket if it veers off track throughout launch.
The upcoming fueling take a look at will enable NASA to carry out a so-called “kick-start bleed test” on the SLS rocket’s 4 most important engines. That take a look at is designed to relax the engines right down to a temperature of minus 420 levels Fahrenheit (minus 251 levels Celsius) to arrange them for his or her super-chilled propellant. The company was unable to carry out that take a look at throughout the first two Artemis 1 launch makes an attempt.
“Teams will confirm the leak has been repaired and also perform the kick-start bleed test (opens in new tab) and a pre-pressurization test, which will validate the ground and flight hardware and software systems can perform the necessary functions required to thermally condition the engines for flight,” NASA officers wrote within the replace. “Following the test, teams will evaluate the data along with plans for the next launch opportunity. “