Science

After the repair, a successful ground test of the NASA rocket to the Moon took place – Science et Avenir

A successful ground test of NASA’s new megarocket for the moon was successfully conducted Wednesday in Florida to test the success of repairs made after two failed launch attempts a few weeks ago, the US space agency said.

“All the goals we set were achieved,” said Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, launch director for the Artemis 1 mission, which is to be the first in the program to return Americans to the moon.

At the very beginning of September, the launch of the most powerful SLS rocket ever built had to be canceled at the last moment due to a leak discovered while filling its tanks with cryogenic fuel – oxygen and liquid hydrogen.

Since hydrogen is highly flammable, such leaks should be avoided at all costs.

Since then, NASA has carried out repairs, replacing the connection between the rocket and the large pipes that feed it with fuel. This seal appears to have been damaged by debris of unknown origin.

Wednesday’s test included refueling the fuel tanks.

During operations, a small hydrogen leak was again observed, but NASA teams were able to verify it.

The agency said last week that it was aiming for Tuesday, September 27 for the next takeoff attempt in less than a week. The rollback date has also been announced, October 2nd.

“Teams will evaluate test data, as well as weather and other factors, before confirming that everything is ready for the next launch,” NASA said in a blog post.

When questioned, Charlie Blackwell-Thompson did not want to speak, but said she was “very excited” about Wednesday’s test performance nonetheless.

To meet the September 27 date, NASA also needs to receive a waiver from the US Space Force regarding the battery life of the rocket’s emergency self-destruct system, designed to detonate it in the event of a trajectory deviation after takeoff.

Usually this duration was limited to 25 days, but the rocket was on the launch pad for much longer.

In addition, the path of Hurricane Fiona off the coast of Florida is being carefully tracked.

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