Miami, Sep 21 (EFE).- NASA concluded this Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida (USA), a series of tests on the SLS rocket of the unmanned mission Artemis I, having fulfilled all the objectives set. and despite the finding of a leak of liquid hydrogen.
“Every goal we set for ourselves we were able to meet. I’m very excited about today’s test,” Artemis I launch manager Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said at the end of the so-called “cryogenic demonstration test.”
Shortly after 10 a.m. local time (2:00 p.m. GMT), that is, about three hours after the tests began, the launch controllers stopped the loading of liquid hydrogen in the central stage of the rocket for a few minutes after discovering a fuel leak.
The leak in an eight-inch (20 cm) plate in the same part where another liquid hydrogen leak was found on September 3 that led to the suspension of the mission’s takeoff, occurred when the process went from a slow fuel fill to a quick one.
The directive told the NASA TV channel that the team was able to solve the problem by means of contingency mechanisms, which proved to be effective in hypothetical similar cases in the future, and the hydrogen filling process could continue.
Facing the tentative date of September 27 for the takeoff from Cape Canaveral (Florida, USA) of this mission that will make an unmanned trip to the Moon, Blackwell-Thompson said that it is necessary to wait for the analysis of the testing to see if changes to hydrogen charging procedures are required.
During the cryogenic demonstration test, the loading of liquid oxygen in the intermediate part of the rocket was carried out without problems.
Among the objectives of today’s tests was to check the repairs made to the liquid hydrogen feed line, where new seals have been placed.
Launch controllers began the slow loading of liquid hydrogen and supercold liquid oxygen into the main and intermediate stages of the rocket, in which it is a supervised process to avoid thermal pressure
The supercold liquid hydrogen allows the temperature of the four RS-25 engines to be lowered to the appropriate level for takeoff. Orion capsule.
If the next launch date is maintained on the 27th of this month, the 70-minute launch window will open at 11:37 a.m. (15:37 GMT). If it takes off that day, the Orion spacecraft, which the rocket will propel to the Moon, will return to Earth on November 5.
NASA manages October 2 as the second launch date and in that case the Orion spacecraft would return on November 11, with a launch window of 109 minutes that would open at 2:52 p.m. (18:52 GMT).
The first launch attempt of Artemis I took place on August 29, but was canceled due to a failure in one of the 4 RS-25 engines of the powerful SLS rocket, which is 98 meters high. That was followed by a second attempt on September 3, suspended due to a liquid hydrogen leak.
The objective of the first Artemis mission is to test the capabilities of the SLS and the Orion spacecraft before a manned voyage originally scheduled for 2024, to be followed by a third in which for the first time since 1972 American astronauts, including a woman and a person of color, will step on the lunar surface. EFE
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