NASA Artemis rocket gets tentative launch dates

FAN Editor

NASA said its next Artemis launch attempt could arrive as soon as Sept. 23. 

Engineers are repairing the area where a hydrogen leak was detected during the last attempt last weekend. 

To fix the issue, technicians have set up a protective tent around the work area at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39B.

They have disconnected the quick disconnect interface for the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line and have begun to replace two seals. 

NASA REPLACING SEAL ON ARTEMIS ROCKET INTERFACE

The Artemis rocket

The sun sets over Artemis I, NASAâs heavy-lift lunar rocket system, after the scrub of the second launch attempt on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.  (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images / Getty Images)

One seal surrounds the eight-inch line used to fill and drain liquid hydrogen from the core stage, and another surrounds the four-inch bleed line used to redirect some of the propellant during tanking operations. 

Upon completion, engineers will reconnect the plates and perform initial tests to evaluate the new seals. 

Kennedy Space Center in Florida

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is seen at Launch Pad 39B Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida as teams work to replace the seal on an interface, called the quick disconnect, between the liquid hydrogen fuel feed (NASA/Chad Siwik / Fox News)

No sooner than Sept. 17, the seals will be tested under cryogenic or supercold conditions, during which the Space Launch System rocket’s core stage and interim cryogenic propulsion stage will be loaded with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen to validate the repair under the conditions it would experience on launch day. 

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Engineers are in the middle of developing a plan for those checkouts.

The Space Launch Systems rocket

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 04: NASA’s Artemis I rocket sits on launch pad 39-B after the launch was scrubbed at Kennedy Space Center on September 04, 2022 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA scrubbed the second attempt to launch Artemis I due t (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images / Getty Images)

The agency has also submitted a request to the Eastern Range for an extension of the current testing requirement for the flight termination system.

It is instructing the Artemis team to move forward with all preparations required for testing. 

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Two launch windows on Sept. 23 and Sept. 27 have been requested, but teams are preparing to support additional dates that align with additional missions.

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