The last critical test had to be stopped before the Artemis I mission began. The reason was fuel loading problems in the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket. The next refueling approach is scheduled for Monday. If all goes as planned this time, the mission could begin in June or July.

“We’ve fixed and remodeled what it was before,” Artemis launch director Charlie Blackwell Thompson said at a news conference on Sunday. “Our team met and made a plan to refuel for tomorrow, so everything is already set,” he added.

The team had to solve a problem with the fans. If all goes according to plan, the 322-meter massive rocket will be refueled from 7 am local time (in Poland it will be 1 pm). After seven hours, the countdown will begin.

Artemis I mission rehearsal is having troublePAP / EPA / JOEL KOWSKY / NASA / HANDOUT

Wet Rehearsal

The audition, known as a “wet clothes” rehearsal, began on Friday afternoon. It simulates every stage of takeoff, except for leaving the takeoff point. It includes operating the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket and Orion spacecraft, loading fuel into the rocket’s tanks, a complete countdown to the takeoff simulation, resetting the countdown timer and emptying the rocket’s tanks.

The agency said operations were halted before the fuel was loaded into the main stage of the missile “due to the loss of the ability to maintain pressure in the mobile launcher.” Blackwell-Thompson added that the unit’s main and backup power fans were not working properly. Each has different problems.

Why are fans so important

– Fans are necessary to ensure the indoor overpressure of the mobile ejector and the containment of dangerous gases. Without this capability, he said, technicians could not continue to safely load fuel into the rocket’s core and transitional cryogenic power stage.

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As he explained, the fans ensure that gases do not accumulate and do not cause a fire or increase the danger.

space rocket launch system PAP / EPA / JOEL KOWSKY / NASA / HANDOUT

Lightning struck the launch site

These aren’t the only problems the mission team encountered. On Saturday, Artemis I survived a severe thunderstorm. Four lightning bolts struck near the 39B launch site. The first three discharges were weak and hit tower #1, while the fourth discharge was much stronger and hit tower #1.

At the time, the Orion spacecraft and the central stage of the SLS rocket were operating. The temporary cryogenic thrust stage of the rocket and engines were also turned off.

The fourth strike was “the strongest since the new lightning protection system was installed,” Jeremy Parsons, associate director of the Earth Systems Exploration Program at NASA’s Space Center, said on social media. John F. Kennedy. He added in the post that the lightning “hit a chain running between the three towers. The system was working very well and kept the SLS and Orion safe. I’m glad we increased the protection.”

According to experts, the subsequent problems were not related to this event. The fan operates normally during a storm. It went on for hours this morning before she had a problem, said Blackwell Thompson.

Despite the delays, the team was ready for a dressage rehearsal on Sunday until refueling problems occurred. However, Parsons noted that the purpose of the test was to detect malfunctions and improve details before takeoff day.

Artemis 1 mission technical concept – unmanned flight around the moon NASA / Holly Zell

conquer the moon again

The results of the dress rehearsal determine when Artemis will go on a mission to the moon and return to Earth. Its launch will begin in NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return people to our natural satellite.

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The unmanned mission could begin in June or July. The Orion spacecraft is set to reach the moon and then fly thousands of kilometers later — farther than any other spacecraft designed to carry humans. This mission lasts several weeks and ends with the launch of the ship in the Pacific Ocean.

Artemis I is Orion’s last test ground before the spacecraft brings astronauts to the moon. Then it’s time for the Artemis II mission, where the crew will fly over the moon. Next up will be Artemis III, during which astronauts will stand on the surface of the Moon. The start dates for the following missions depend on the Artemis I mission.

Visualizing the Artemis mission (NASA/Jason Roberts)NASA/Jason Roberts

Main image source: PAP / EPA / JOEL KOWSKY / NASA / HANDOUT