The fourth attempt for the final pre-launch test began on Saturday, and refueling of the rocket is expected to begin Monday morning.
The critical test, known as wet wear training, simulates every stage of the launch without the rocket leaving the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
This process includes loading ultra-cooled boosters, running a full countdown simulating a launch, resetting the countdown clock, and draining missile tanks.
The results of the wet-clothes training will determine when Artemis I embarks on a mission beyond the Moon and back to Earth. This mission will launch NASA’s Artemis program, which is expected to return humans to the Moon and land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon by 2025.
Three previous test attempts in April failed and ended before the missile could be fully loaded with fuel due to multiple leaks. NASA says these errors have now been corrected.
The NASA team rolls a 322-foot (98 m) stack of Artemis I rockets, including the Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft, to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 6.
Wet repeat: what to expect
The rehearsal kicked off at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday with a “call for the seasons” – when all teams associated with the mission arrive at their consoles and signal that they are ready to begin testing and a two-day countdown begin.
Preparations for the weekend will see the Artemis team begin loading propellant into the rocket’s mid and upper stages.
The tanks were suspended Monday morning due to an identified problem with the backup nitrogen gas supply. The release team replaced the valve that was causing the problem. To ensure that the backup power supply works as expected, it was replaced as the main power supply for today’s test.
The comment was lifted at 9:28 a.m. ET. Liquid oxygen cooled to minus 297 degrees Fahrenheit (182 degrees Celsius) and liquid hydrogen will fill the tanks. Venting may be visible when tanks are full.
A two-hour test window will begin later, with Artemis targeting the first countdown at 4:38 p.m. ET. due to tank delay.
First, the team members It will count to 33 seconds before the launch, then stop the cycle. The clock will be reset; Then the countdown will resume and last until approximately 10 seconds before launch.
According to an update on NASA’s website, “During testing, the team may hold the countdown as needed to check conditions before resuming the countdown or extending beyond the window. testing if necessary and if resources permit”.
Previous wet-weather training attempts have already achieved many goals in preparing the rocket for launch, Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Artemis launch manager for NASA’s Earth Exploration Systems program, told a conference. press on Wednesday. .
“Hopefully we can finish this time and finish the cryogenic loads with the final count,” she said. “Our team is ready to go and we can’t wait to get back to this test.”
Once the Artemis rocket group completes its rehearsal, it will return to the Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building to await launch day.
There’s a long history behind exhaustive testing of new systems before launch, and the Artemis team faces similar experiences to those of the Apollo and Space Shuttle teams, including multiple test attempts and delays.
“No one on the team is abdicating the responsibility that we and our contractors have to manage, deliver and deliver the assets that meet these flight test objectives for (Artemis I) and those of Artemis I” , said Jim Frey, associate director at Artemis. I. NASA Exploration Systems Development Mission Leadership at the press conference held last week.