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The NASA staff is getting ready to roll the 322-foot-tall (98-meter-tall) Artemis I rocket stack, together with the Area Launch System and Orion spacecraft, again to the launchpad at Kennedy Area Heart in Florida later this month.

The essential take a look at, generally known as the moist costume rehearsal, simulates each stage of launch with out the rocket leaving the launchpad. This course of contains loading propellant, going by way of a full countdown simulating launch, resetting the countdown clock and draining the rocket tanks.

After three makes an attempt of the moist costume rehearsal in April, the rocket stack was rolled again into the Automobile Meeting Constructing on April 26 to handle points that cropped up throughout the take a look at makes an attempt.

To this point, the staff has been engaged on changing a defective test valve on the rocket’s higher stage that created a helium leak and repairing the supply of a tail service mast hydrogen leak. In the meantime, Air Liquide, which provides gaseous nitrogen to the launchpad, has been upgrading its pipeline configuration to raised assist the testing and launch of Artemis I.

When inspecting the test valve, the staff discovered a small piece of rubber that prevented it from sealing accurately, stated Jim Free, affiliate administrator for NASA’s Exploration Methods Growth Mission Directorate, throughout a information convention on Thursday.

NASA's next moon rocket gets final repairs ahead of mission launch

No points have been discovered with the valve, and engineers are investigating the supply of the rubber because it wasn’t initially a part of the valve, Free stated. The staff has additionally narrowed down the potential causes for the hydrogen leak.

As soon as the rocket stack rolls again out to the launchpad in late Could, it’ll take between 12 and 14 days earlier than the rocket can undergo one other moist costume rehearsal, which may happen in early to mid-June, Free stated.

“We have executed quite a lot of work to get the rocket able to roll again out to the launchpad,” stated Cliff Lanham, senior car operations supervisor for NASA ‘s Exploration Floor Methods Program at Kennedy Area Heart. “Stopping on the VAB is a pit cease to come back again in, do what we have to do and get again out to the pad as shortly as potential. So we’re working onerous to fulfill that aim.”

NASA puts Artemis moon rocket through crucial paces ahead of launch

The Artemis staff is now launch home windows for sending Artemis I on its journey to the moon in late summer time: between July 26 and August 9, August 23 to August 29 and September 2 to September 6.

“We additionally wish to be real looking and upfront with you that it might take a couple of try to get the procedures the place we’d like them for a smoother launch depend that provides us one of the best probability to creating our launch home windows,” Free stated.

As soon as the Artemis rocket stack completes its moist costume rehearsal, it’ll roll again into the constructing to attend for launch day.

There’s a lengthy historical past behind the arduous course of to check new programs earlier than launching a rocket, and what the Artemis staff is dealing with is much like what the Apollo and shuttle period groups skilled, together with a number of take a look at makes an attempt and delays earlier than launch.

The outcomes of the moist costume rehearsal will decide when the uncrewed Artemis I’ll launch on a mission that goes past the moon and returns to Earth. This mission will kick off NASA’s Artemis program, which is predicted to return people to the moon and land the primary girl and the primary particular person of colour on the lunar floor by 2025.

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