here we go again.
After two scrub launch attempts and two hurricanes hitting the Space Coast, NASA is about to launch another giant moon rocket to Earth.
NASA’s first mission, Artemis I artemis program It is scheduled to return the astronauts to the moon and is scheduled to take off at 1:04 am ET on Wednesday, with a launch time of two hours.
Watch the launch from 12:30 am here
The Space Launch System is the most powerful rocket ever built by a space agency. Above it is the Orion spacecraft, which will one day take astronauts to and from the moon. The last time humans went to the moon was in December 1972.
This is an unmanned mission and the only passengers on board are three mannequins that are part of several experiments, including testing vests to protect astronauts from deadly space radiation.
Scheduled to launch in 2024, Artemis II will carry four astronauts, including a Canadian, to orbit the Moon and return to Earth.
Scheduled to launch in 2025, Artemis III will once again see humans on the moon.
But for NASA, getting the Artemis mission up and running was a real challenge.
Originally, the rocket was scheduled to launch on August 29. The space agency ran into some problems Including the delay in loading the rocket’s propellant due to heavy weather that day. Second, her two propellants, liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, were not loading at acceptable rates. Finally, one of the four rocket engines failed to cool as expected, eventually forcing the crew to run out of time in the launch window and scrub the launch.
The second launch attempt on September 3 was Scrubbing was also done due to fuel loading issues and hydrogen leakage.
Then came the hurricane.
First, it was Hurricane Ian that forced NASA to return the rocket to the Vehicle Assembly Building.made by hurricane Landed in the Gulf of Mexico on September 28 as a Category 4 There was no major damage to the Kennedy Space Center, but the space agency wanted to inspect the launch pad and give workers time to care for themselves, further delaying the launch.
Then there was Hurricane Nicole, which made landfall just south of Kennedy Space Center on November 10 as a Category 1 storm. NASA returned her rocket to the launch pad on November 4th and launched on November 14th. But once Nicole was developed, it was too late to return the 32-story rocket to safety in the Assembly Building. The rocket remained on the launch pad during the storm and the launch date was changed to November 16th.
Rocket experienced some problems due to being left behind in a storm.
One is a crack in the thin caulk that surrounds Orion. This essentially fills the gaps in the thicker insulation, preventing air circulation and heating. There were concerns that if it broke further during launch, it could catastrophically damage the rocket.
Another concern was the tail service mast umbilical. This 10-meter-tall structure is located near the bottom of the rocket and consists of multiple lines that supply propellant and electricity to the rocket’s core stage. Engineers were receiving “inconsistent” dataeven though I previously replaced one of the connectors.
Despite these problems, mission managers said in a Monday night media conference call that they were confident they could still fly.
Artemis mission manager Mike Sarafin said, “There is no change to our plan to launch on the 16th.” .”
The reason is that the mast umbilical has a redundant system in place. As for the caulking, they’ve reviewed it and believe it won’t break any more, and even if it does, it’s unlikely to pose a catastrophic risk to Rocket.
Sarafin noted that the same caulk was used during the flight of the Orion spacecraft’s first test flight, and no removal problems were seen.
As for the possibility of yet another leak during propellant loading, Jeremy Parsons, deputy manager of the Exploration Ground Systems Program at Kennedy Space Center, said he wouldn’t worry about encountering the previous problem.
“We are more confident than ever in our loading procedures,” he said.
The multi-hour tanking will begin at 3:30 PM ET on Tuesday.
If the rocket launches Wednesday, Orion will have a 26-day mission to test multiple systems. Most importantly, this includes a new heat shield designed to protect astronauts from heat as they re-enter the atmosphere at around 40,000 km/h.
Overall, the space agency has a positive feeling that it is ready to overcome other challenges that may arise along the way. He says he has been trying.
“Our time has come. I hope it will be Wednesday,” Sarafin said. “But if Wednesday isn’t the right day, get over the next hurdle, the next ordeal, and get through it.”
NASA prepares for the third attempt to launch a rocket to the moon tomorrow morning
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