NASA Reviews Options for Next Artemis I Launch Attempt, Prepares To Replace Seal

NASA Artemis I Launch Rollout Spotlights

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, with the Orion capsule atop, slowly makes its way along the crawlerway at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, August 16, 2022/Wednesday, August 17, 2022. Carried atop the crawler-transporter 2, NASA’s Moon rocket is venturing the 4.2 miles from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Complex 39B ahead of the first flight test of the fully stacked and integrated SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft. Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

After standing down on the NASA Artemis I launch attempt on Saturday, September 3 due to a hydrogen leak, engineering teams have decided to replace a seal while at the launch pad. The seal is on an interface, called the quick disconnect, between the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line on the mobile launcher and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

NASA SLS Rocket Atop Mobile Launcher

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop a mobile launcher at Launch Pad 39B during preparations for launch, Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Performing the work at the launch pad requires technicians to set up an enclosure around the work area to protect the hardware from the weather and other environmental conditions. However, it enables engineers to test the repair under cryogenic, or supercold, conditions. Another advantage to performing the work at the pad is that it allows teams to gather as much data as possible to understand the cause of the issue. Engineering teams may return the rocket to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to perform additional work that does not require the use of the cryogenic facilities that are available only at the pad.

NASA would need to roll the rocket and spacecraft back to the VAB before the next launch attempt to reset the system’s batteries in order to meet the current requirement by the Eastern Range for the certification on the flight termination system.

In addition, teams will also check plate coverings on other umbilical interfaces to ensure there are no leaks present at those locations. There are seven main umbilical lines, and each line may have multiple connection points.

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