Several issues have arisen since Artemis I started refueling after midnight. The launch team is evaluating the delays to determine how much they will affect the launch.
First the weather: Marine storms with possible lightning prevented the team from starting the refueling process, scheduled to begin at midnight, for about an hour.
The suspension was lifted at 1:13 a.m. ET, and the tank operation began loading the rocket’s core stage with supercooled liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.
Next, an initial rise in leakage and pressure occurs: The team stopped filling the tank with liquid hydrogen twice due to an initial leak as well as high pressure, but the tank resumed to the primary stage and started on the upper stage, or temporary cryogenic thrust stage.
Now, the engine is bleeding: The launch team discovered an engine bleed problem in one of the rocket’s four engines. As the engine bleeds, hydrogen is circulated through the engine to prepare it for launch. Three of the four engines performed as expected, but engine number 3 was having trouble.
Add frost: The team also discovered a streak of frost at the edge of the inner stage. At first, the engineers thought frost could indicate a crack in the tank, but it turned out to be a crack in the outer foam. The team shared that the problem has been resolved because breaking the foam does not indicate a leak.
Engineers are also working on the reason for the 11-minute delay in communications between the Orion spacecraft and ground systems. The problem can affect the start of the final countdown, or the countdown that begins when 10 minutes remain on the clock before takeoff. But engineers feel good about discovering the problem before the final count, according to NASA.
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