The fourth attempt at the final test before the launch began on Saturday, and the rocket’s loading is expected to begin on Monday morning.
The key test, known as the wet rehearsal, simulates each phase of the launch without the rocket leaving the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
This process involves refueling with super-cold fuel, going through a full countdown simulating a launch, resetting the countdown clock, and emptying the rocket’s tank.
The results of the wet rehearsal will determine when Artemis I will leave unmanned for a mission that goes beyond the Moon and returns to Earth. The mission will launch NASA’s Artemis program, which is expected to bring humans back to the moon and land the first woman and the first colored person on the moon’s surface by 2025.
Three previous attempts at a wet rehearsal in April were unsuccessful, and were completed before the rocket could be fully filled with propellant due to various leaks. They have been corrected since then, NASA says.
A NASA team returned the 322-foot (98-meter-high) Artemis I rocket beam, including the space launch system and the Orion spacecraft, to the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 6.
Wet dress rehearsal: What to expect
The wet rehearsal began at 17:00 Eastern European Time on Saturday with a “call to the stations” – when all teams related to the mission reach their consoles and report that they are ready to start the test and start a two-day countdown.
Preparations over the weekend will prepare the Artemis team to start fueling the rocket’s core and upper rungs.
The tank is currently on hold due to a problem identified with the reserve supply of nitrogen gas. The launch team has already replaced the valve that caused the problem. To make sure the backup power supply works as expected, it has been replaced as the primary source for today’s test.
The detention is scheduled to pick up at 9:20 a.m. Eastern Time.
The two-hour trial period will start later, and the Artemis team is aiming for the first countdown at 16:30 Eastern time. due to tank disposal.
First, team members will go through a countdown to 33 seconds before launch and then stop the cycle. The clock will be reset; then the countdown will resume and take up to about 10 seconds before launch.
“During the test, the team may retain time during the countdown as needed to check conditions before continuing the countdown, or extend beyond the test window, if resources allow, and resources allow,” an update on the NASA website said.
Previous attempts at wet rehearsals have already met many of the targets for preparing the rocket for launch, said Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Artemis launch director for NASA’s Earth Research Systems program, during a press conference on Wednesday.
“We hope to complete them this time and go through cryogenic filling operations along with the number of terminals,” she said. “Our team is ready to go and we are looking forward to returning to this test.
When the Artemis rocket group completes its wet test, it will return to the vehicle assembly building in the space center to wait for the launch day.
There is a long history behind the painstaking testing of new systems before launch, and Artemis’ team is facing similar experiences as the Apollo and Shuttle-era teams, including multiple attempts at testing and delays.
There is no person on the team who does not shy away from the responsibility that we have to manage ourselves and our contractors and deliver and deliver means meeting these flight test objectives for (Artemis I) and meeting the Artemis I objectives. program, “said Jim Free, assistant administrator of NASA’s Research Systems Development Directorate, during last week’s press conference.
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