Monday’s crucial test, known as the wet dress rehearsal, mimicked every step of a rocket launch without leaving the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This included loading all four rocket tanks with supercooled propellant, undergoing a complete countdown and removing the rocket tanks.
A hydrogen leak and several other issues during the test prevented the team from reaching the double count as planned.
In April, three previous attempts at a wet-dress rehearsal failed, before the rocket was fully loaded. Despite the problems, the Artemis team sees Monday’s fourth attempt – the most complete attempt ever – as a success. When the test ended at 7:37 ET yesterday, there was applause from the control rooms.
The results of the wet clothes rehearsal will determine when the unmanned Artemis I will embark on a mission that will go beyond the moon and return to Earth. The mission will launch NASA’s Artemis program, which is expected to return humans to the moon and land the first woman and the first person of color on the moon’s surface by 2025.
During a news conference Tuesday, Tom Whitmeyer, NASA’s Deputy Associate Administrator of Joint Exploration Systems Development, compared preparations for launching a new rocket to combining a delicate dance and a complex puzzle.
“We’ve got it through dance, and now we’re looking at the pieces of the puzzle to decide which pieces we didn’t get,” said White Meyer. “But we also found a lot of pieces of the puzzle put together. We have a very good idea of what the puzzle looks like at this point.”
During the test, the team failed to solve the problem of the hydrogen leak, which was discovered in an instantaneous disconnect line between the main phase of the rocket and the ground plate. Engineers are still considering whether it is better to leave the rocket on the launch pad and try to repair it there, or to replace the 322-foot-long (98-meter-long) space launch system and Orion spacecraft with a vehicle assembly building. Hanging back inside. .
NASA’s Artemis Launch Director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said that despite the leak, the Artemis team planned to go through a countdown.
During the transition between the ground launch sequencer computer and the flight software, the flight software flagged the hydrogen leak as the reason for stopping the countdown with 29 seconds left. The goal was to reach the remaining nine seconds in the countdown, but the team knew there was a 95% chance that the test would end prematurely.
All four test efforts have helped the Artemis team reach the milestones on the way to launching new rockets – and most of them were achieved on Monday. Mike Sarafen, NASA’s Artemis mission manager, estimates that the team’s growth is at 90 percent where it needs to be, with few goals left to check the list.
Now, the Artemis team will review the tremendous amount of data collected on Monday and determine what is left and how to examine it – whether it means rehearsing another wet dress or something. And.
“I’m a big believer in data tracking,” said Blackwell-Thompson. “We’ll see where the data takes us and move on.”
Another update from the Artemis team is expected by the end of the week. Mission personnel can share how test results affect the possible launch timeline and the estimated time required to repair and meet the final objectives before launch.