The Artemis team had time to review the data collected from the successful fourth attempt of the final test held on Monday, and decided that no more wet training was needed. The test simulates each stage of the launch without the rocket leaving the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
“During wet training activities, we have increasingly added to our knowledge of how rockets and ground systems work together, and our teams have become adept at launch procedures across multiple sites,” said Tom Whitmaier, NASA Associate Deputy Administrator for Joint Exploration and Systems Development, in a statement.
“We have completed the rehearsal phase, and everything we have learned will help improve our ability to launch during the target launch period.”
Monday’s test involved loading all four missile tanks with super-cooled propellant, running a full countdown and draining the missile tanks. Hydrogen leakage and other issues that came up during testing prevented the team from getting too far with two countdowns As planned.
However, the team concluded that the test attempts had achieved nearly all of the pre-launch goals.
“We had only 13 of the 128 jobs we ordered that we planned in the final issue that weren’t successfully completed,” said Phil Weber, senior director of technical integration for NASA’s Earth Exploration Systems Program, during a news conference Friday.
“And we studied those details in detail, and it turns out that the majority of those have already been validated in previous tests.”
Later Friday, engineers will conduct a test of the hydraulic booster power unit while the rocket is still sitting on the launch pad, a component that was not included in Monday’s test.
According to a NASA statement, “the units contain hydrazine-powered turbines attached to pumps that provide pressure to rotate the booster nozzles used to guide the rocket during ascent.”
Friday evening test It’s not required, said John Blevins, chief engineer for NASA’s Space Launch System program, but engineers want to do a quick rotation of the system to mitigate any risks of future failures.
Next week, the Artemis team will return the 322-foot (98 m) space launch system and the Orion spacecraft to the vehicle assembly building. The stack will remain in the building for six to eight weeks for repairs and launch preparations.
The engineers developed a plan to complete the ultimate goals, such as replacing the seal to address a liquid hydrogen leak during that time. Cliff Lanham, senior director of vehicle operations for NASA’s Earth Exploration Systems Program, said the team will also test and install flight termination system pyrotechnics.
I will launch the unmanned Artemis I 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 people of color on the moon by 2025.
“The team continues to impress me with their creative thinking and resourcefulness,” said Charlie Blackwell Thompson, Artemis launch director at Kennedy. “Our Artemis launch team worked quickly to adapt to the dynamics of the fuel loading operations. With every milestone and every test, we’re one step closer to launch.”