NASA delays SLS rocket launch again due to fuel leak

On Saturday, NASA called off a second attempt to launch its Artemis 1 mission into lunar orbit, citing problems with a leak of liquid hydrogen that occurred as the team loaded the rocket’s core stage. According to NASA, the leak occurred “when the propellant was loaded into the core stage of the Space Launch System rocket.

To address the leaking area, the team performed multiple troubleshooting efforts by reinstalling the seal at the quick-connect where the liquid hydrogen entered the rocket. , but it didn’t solve the problem.”

These troubleshooting efforts continued for several hours, with the Artemis team targeting the place to seal the leak, starting with what might be called a “shutdown and reopening” of two attempts. 

Ultra-cold hydrogen fuel was stopped on its channel, the fuel tank connectors were heated, and fuel flow was resumed, hoping to seal the leak with steam, but that didn’t work. NASA then turned its efforts towards a new solution: pumping helium into the tank, which turned out to be equally useless and the leak remained.

So at around 11:17 a.m. ET — about three hours before Saturday’s launch window opened, launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson made the decision to cancel Saturday’s attempt.

This is the second time the Artemis 1 mission has been delayed. The first liftoff attempt was due to take place on Monday, but Blackwell Thompson had to call it off because of continued problems with the so-called engine bleed test, a process that lets the engine cool down properly by releasing a small amount of fuel temperature.

The next date on NASA’s initial lift-off day selection list is Monday, September 5. But we still haven’t heard anything about the launch rescheduling.

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