After last Monday’s frustrated attempt, NASA intends next Saturday to launch Artemis I, the first integrated test of the Orion spacecraft, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and ground systems at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center. in Florida.
Mission managers met Tuesday to discuss the data and develop a future plan to address problems that arose during a flight test launch attempt last Monday. During that launch attempt, crews were unable to cool all four RS-25 engines to approximately -420 degrees F and engine 3 showed higher temperatures than the other engines. Crews also saw a hydrogen leak in a component of the tail service mast umbilical quick disconnect, called a purge can, and managed the leak by manually adjusting propellant flow rates.
In the coming days, teams will modify and practice propellant loading procedures to follow a procedure similar to the one successfully carried out during the Green Run at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The updated procedures would perform the engine cool-down test, also called the start-up purge test, 30 to 45 minutes earlier in the countdown during the liquid hydrogen fast-fill phase for the core stage.
Crews are also setting up platforms on Launch Pad 39B to allow engineers to access the purge can at the tail service mast umbilical. Once access is established, technicians will perform assessments and tighten connection points where necessary.
Meteorologists of the US Space Force Delta 45 space launch favorable weather conditions are forecast for Saturday. While showers are expected, they are forecast to be sporadic during the launch window.
The mission management team will meet again this Thursday to review data and general preparation.