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Moon rocket fueling test a hit, Nasa says, setting stage for launch


A very important fueling test of Nasa’s massive Moonrocket went perfectly on Wednesday, setting the stage for a launch attempt as early as 27 September, according to the space agency.

Nasa began loading cryogenic fuel into the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket Wednesday morning to check repairs and latest procedures designed to stop leaks and engine problems that led Nasa to cancel two previous launch attempts in August and early September. Despite a couple of problems along the way in which, the space agency was capable of complete the test and gave the rocket a passing grade.

“The test went rather well. We desired to learn, to guage,” Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, the Nasa’s launch director for the approaching Artemis I test flight of the SLS, said in an announcement shared on social media. “The entire objectives that we got down to do, we were capable of accomplish. I’m extremely encouraged by the test today.”

Nasa hasn’t yet committed to the 27 September launch opportunity, but will now begin considering what was learned during Wednesday’s test, weather conditions, and other aspects to come to a decision whether to commit to that launch opportunity, aim for the already announced backup date of two October, or push the launch to a different launch window entirely.

The test was designed to evaluate whether latest seals and procedures could prevent leaks within the interface between the liquid hydrogen fueling lines and the SLS rocket’s fuel tanks, as just such a leak forced Nasa to wash the last launch attempt on 3 September.

The test also included latest procedures designed to start bringing the rocket’s engines to the right temperature to just accept the extremely cold cryogenic fuel earlier within the launch preparation process, as an issue with the thermal condition of one among the rocket’s engines was largely chargeable for Nasa canceling the primary launch attempt for the SLS on 29 August.

Along with the Orion Spacecraft, it carries, SLS makes up the core of Nasa’s latest Artemis Moon program. Artemis I might be an uncrewed test flight for each rocket and spacecraft that can send the Orion across the Moon and back, before splashing down within the Pacific Ocean.

If all goes well with Artemis I, Artemis II will fly an identical course in 2024, this time carrying 4 Nasa astronauts.

Artemis III is the mission that can carry astronauts back to the surface of the Moon in 2025, the primary time boots can have touched lunar regolith since 1972 through the Apollo 17 mission.

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