It’s been just over two weeks Since NASA wisely proceeded A Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft inside the massive vehicle assembly building at the Kennedy Space Center to protect instruments from Hurricane Ian.
During that time, engineers and technicians from the space agency and its contractors conducted a detailed check of the rocket and spacecraft to determine its flight readiness. This was an important process because the vehicles had been in a fully stacked configuration for nearly a year, since October 21, 2021. NASA wanted to assess the ongoing viability of the batteries on the rocket, the excess fuel stored in the Orion service module, and more.
The good news from these inspections is that only minimal work is required to prepare the rocket for its next launch attempt, NASA said Wednesday. In a blog post.
“Inspections and analyzes conducted over the past week have confirmed that minimal work is required to prepare the rocket and spacecraft for deployment to Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The agency said in the wake of the downturn due to Hurricane Ian. “Teams will perform standard maintenance to repair minor damage to the foam and cork on the thermal protection system and recharge or replace the batteries on the rocket, several secondary payloads, and the flight termination system.”
As a result, NASA is now planning to move the Artemis I stack to the launch site as early as Friday, November 4. This would allow an initial launch attempt for the mission at 12:07 a.m. ET (04:07 UTC) on November 14. There is a 67-minute launch window for this opportunity. This launch date will allow for a 25.5-day mission of the Orion spacecraft before it blasts off into the Pacific Ocean.
NASA has also requested two additional launch opportunities, Wednesday, November 16, at 1:04 a.m. ET, and Saturday, November 19, at 1:45 a.m. ET, both of which have two-hour launch windows.
The space agency attempted to launch the rocket for the first time on August 29, but a few hours before the planned takeoff, a sensor in one of the rocket’s four main engines gave a false temperature reading. This eventually led to the rubbing of the launch attempt, but NASA later said the sensor problem wasn’t an issue. The agency then made a second attempt on September 3, but that attempt was cleared two hours before the launch window opened due to persistent hydrogen leaks. After the repairs, NASA conducted a fuel test that appears to have verified the integrity of these leak repairs.
However, NASA has yet to complete the full refueling test and countdown, so there may be more issues appearing in the last 30 seconds before liftoff that are yet to be revealed.
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