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Watch NASA’s Artemis Moon Rocket Roll Out on the Launchpad

The Space Launch System and Orion are two main components of NASA’s plan to return astronauts to the surface of the Moon in the coming years. Getting there required a powerful rocket that could push a large spacecraft from low-Earth orbit to the Moon about 240,000 miles away. Orion is a capsule designed to carry astronauts on space voyages lasting a few weeks.

NASA first landed the SLS rocket on the launchpad in mid-March. In early April, it attempted a “wet dress rehearsal” of the countdown procedures, which involved the loading of more than 700,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen rocket propellant. However, technical glitches, including a hydrogen leak during three rehearsal attempts, cut short the countdown.

NASA then rolled the rocket back to the Vehicle Assembly Building for repairs. In June, the rocket returned to the launchpad for another attempt at wet dress rehearsals. In that attempt, on June 20, a separate hydrogen leak was encountered in the fuel line connector for the rocket’s booster stage. However, the propellant tanks were completely filled the first time, and controllers were able to continue rehearsals until the countdown ended with 29 seconds. Originally, the objective was to stop the countdown to just under 10 seconds, when the engines would start for the actual launch.

Despite the leak, NASA officials decided that all critical systems had been sufficiently tested and declared the test a success. The rocket then headed back to the Vehicle Assembly Building for final preparations, which included the installation of the flight termination system, which would detonate the rocket if something went wrong during launch and eliminated the possibility of it crashing into a populated area. Will give

The Flight Termination System batteries, installed on August 11, are typically rated to last only 20 days, but the part of the United States Space Force overseeing the launch from Florida granted NASA an exemption that extended the period to 25 days. gives. This allows for a launch date of August 29, as well as backup opportunities on September 2 and September 5.

NASA hopes it has fixed the hydrogen leak, but it won’t know for sure until the countdown to August 29, when the propellant line is cooled to ultracold temperatures, something that will be tested in the Vehicle Assembly Building. cannot be done.

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