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The Artemis I rocket will have its third launch on Tuesday, September 27, but Tropical Depression Nine could change that.
The 70-minute launch window opened at 11:37 a.m. ET, and the Orion Space Launch System and spacecraft rocket continued to sit on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Concerns about the weather system that are forming in the Caribbean make the weather conditions only 20% favorable for a launch. The tropical depression’s current path makes it possible for the storm to impact Cuba and Florida as early as next week.
With uncertainty over the storm’s path, intensity and time of arrival, the Artemis team will use the latest data to inform, said Mike Bolger, manager of NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems Program. their decision.
“Deep tropical moisture will overwhelm Spaceport on Tuesday, with widespread cloud cover and possible scattered showers in the launch window,” according to a statement. forecast made by the US Space Force on Friday.
Launch constraints require that the Artemis I mission not fly through any precipitation. Launch constraints are designed to avoid natural lightning strikes and are triggered by rockets in flight, which could damage the rocket and jeopardize public safety, according to the Space Force. .
Rocket-triggered lightning forms when a large rocket flies through a strong enough electric field in the atmosphere, so a cloud that doesn’t produce natural lightning can still cause rocket-activated lightning, according to the Space Force. .
Team Artemis is closely monitoring the weather situation and will make a decision on Saturday. If the rockets need to be returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center, the process could take several days.
In the meantime, the Artemis team is encouraged after “a really successful knockdown test” and “rocket,” said John Blevins, chief SLS engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. are looking good for the upcoming launches.
A crucial refueling test for a supermoon rocket met all of its goals on Wednesday, despite two separate hydrogen leaks that have occurred.
The purpose of the cryogenic demonstration is to test the replaced seals and use the updated “kinder and gentler” loading procedures of the supercooled propellant that the rocket will undergo in the future. launch date.
NASA engineers discovered a liquid hydrogen leak during testing that “looks like” a leak that prevented the launch attempt on September 3. However, efforts to fix it. Their troubleshooting enabled the team to manage the leak.
The team was able to completely fill the core stage with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. They also completed an engine bleed test, which cools the four engines and cools them down before starting. (The mission team that examined the first attempt to launch Artemis I on August 29 was largely due to a problem with a faulty sensor that occurred during the bleed.)
A hydrogen leak was detected on the 4-inch quick disconnect for a bleeding engine that exceeded the 4% threshold during pre-pressurization testing. This quick disconnect current carries liquid hydrogen out of the engine after it has passed through the engine and cooled them. But the leakage rate itself goes down.
Additionally, the Artemis team received Space Force approval for the launch attempt on September 27, and a fallback date of October 2.
The Space Force oversees all rocket launches from the East Coast of the United States, including NASA’s Florida launch site, and that area is known as the Eastern Range. Officers at the range are tasked with ensuring there is no risk to people or property with any launch attempt.
After receiving detailed data from NASA, the Space Force made a decision to waive the launch date.
The first mission of the Artemis program will begin a phase of space exploration by NASA intended to send diverse crews down to previously unexplored regions of the moon – during the Artemis II and Artemis missions. III, slated for 2024 and 2025, respectively – and eventually carrying out crewed missions to Mars.