NASA’s first new moon rocket since the mighty Apollo-era Saturn V is back on the launch pad for a critical refueling test this month and you can catch live views right now for free.
The agency’s first Space Launch System (SLS) mega-rocket, which is due to launch the uncrewed Artemis 1 mission to the moon in August, sits on Launch Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida for a test run. three-day refueling that will begin on June 18. NASA rolled the rocket to the pad on June 6 and has since been streaming live views on the KSC YouTube newsroom (opens in a new tab) channel.
The SLS rocket’s Artemis 1 refueling test, which NASA calls a “wet dress rehearsal,” is a critical test to ensure the agency can fuel the giant rocket for launch and that its systems are ready for its launch. planned trip to the moon. Artemis 1 will launch an Orion spacecraft around the moon on an uncrewed shakedown cruise.
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“During the test, launch teams will rehearse operations to load propellant into the rocket’s tanks, perform a full launch countdown, demonstrate the ability to recycle the countdown clock, and empty the tanks for their opportunity to practice the timelines and procedures they will use for launch,” NASA officials said in a statement. (opens in a new tab)Friday (June 10).
NASA attempted to perform the test in April on several occasions, but was unable to fully complete the procedure due to problems loading fuel into the rocket’s interim cryogenic booster stage. They discovered that loose bolts were causing hydrogen to leak in the umbilical lines between the stage and the SLS mobile launch pad. A helium check valve on the stage also had to be replaced.
Engineers have since repaired those issues and are ready to attempt the refueling test again, NASA said.
“Rehearsal is the final test needed before launch and will begin at 5 p.m. EDT on Saturday, June 18 with a ‘Call to Stations,’ when members of the Launch Control Team arrive at their consoles to kick off the countdown. approximately two days,” the agency said in the statement. If all goes well, NASA will fully fuel the Artemis 1 lunar rocket on June 20.
NASA will hold a press conference on Wednesday, June 15 to discuss the start of the wetsuit rehearsal test on June 18. A broadcast on June 20 will show live views of refueling (which NASA calls “tanking”) beginning at 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT), with a target test window opening at 2:40 p.m. EDT (18 h 40 GMT).
The space agency will hold a follow-up press conference on June 21 at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) to discuss the test results.