NASA tentatively postpones Artemis I moon launch attempt due to liquid hydrogen leak
August 31 (last Wednesday) data map, from: NASA / Bill Ingalls photo
SCI Tech DailyNote: Before the next Artemis I launch attempt, NASA will need to reset and roll back the entire system to meet Eastern Range’s flight termination system certification requirements (currently set at 25 days) and to ensure public safety.
During yesterday’s launch attempt, NASA engineers detected a leak in the cavity between the ground and the side plate of the rocket. The cavity surrounds an 8-inch line used to fill or drain liquid hydrogen fuel into the SLS rocket.
Sadly, even though the engineers repeated three attempts, they were ultimately unsuccessful. According to the original plan, the launch controller would pre-cool the pipeline and propulsion system at this stage, and then inject the liquid hydrogen into the storage tank at a temperature of -423 °F (about -253 °C).
However, a command sent inadvertently in the meantime temporarily raised the pressure on the system. While the body of the rocket is still considered safe and it’s too early to tell if the pressurized shock caused the seal to leak, NASA engineers are delving into the issue.
SLS launch aerial rendering (Credit: NASA/MSFC)
Finally, with reference to the complex orbital route of the Earth-Moon launch mission, NASA currently has until September 6 (Tuesday) to carry out the Artemis I launch mission.
The following are the launch windows available to NASA:
● August 23rd – September 6th: 12 chances
● 30/31 Aug, 1 Sep — not available
● September 19 – October 4: 14 chances
● September 29-30: Not available
● October 17-31: 11 chances
● October 24, 25, 26, 28: Not available
● November 12 – 27 (pre-order): 12 chances
● November 20, 21, 26: Not available
● Dec 9-23 (Preliminary): 11 chances
● Dec 10, 14, 18, 23: Not available