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The Artemis I mega lunar rocket is preparing for its final pre-launch final test attempt, according to an update from NASA officials on Friday.
The NASA team prepares to roll the 322-foot-tall (98-meter-tall) Artemis I rocket stack, including the Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft, to the launch pad on June 6 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Deployment is expected to take approximately 12 hours.
The Artemis rocket will make its next wet dress rehearsal attempt no earlier than June 19. Since June can bring many thunderstorms to Florida, the NASA team will be monitoring the weather closely and adjusting dates as needed. .
The crucial test, known as the wet dress rehearsal, simulates every stage of the launch without the rocket leaving the launch pad. This process includes loading supercold propellant, performing a full launch-simulating countdown, resetting the countdown clock, and draining the rocket’s fuel tanks.
After three wet dress rehearsal attempts in April, the rocket stack was brought back to the Vehicle Assembly Building on April 26 to address issues that arose during the test attempts.
Since then, engineers have replaced and tested a check valve on the upper stage and repaired a small leak in the umbilical of the tail service mast used during refueling, said Cliff Lanham, senior director of vehicle operations. NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems program.
Meanwhile, Air Liquide, which supplies nitrogen gas to the launch pad, has upgraded and tested its pipeline configuration to better support Artemis I testing and launch.
The Artemis team also ticked off some preparatory tasks that were originally scheduled to take place after the next wetsuit rehearsal.
The mission team is now considering launch windows to send Artemis I on its journey to the moon in late summer: between July 26 and August 9, August 23 to August 29, September 2 to September 6 and beyond.
After the Artemis rocket stack completes its dress rehearsal, it will return to the building to await launch day.
There’s a long history behind the arduous process of testing new systems before launching a rocket, and what the Artemis team faces is similar to what Apollo and shuttle-era teams faced. experienced, including multiple test attempts and delays before launch.
The results of the dress rehearsal will determine when the uncrewed Artemis I embarks on a mission that will go beyond the moon and back to Earth. This mission will launch NASA’s Artemis program, which is expected to return humans to the Moon and land the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface by 2025.
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