Artemis I: NASA’s mega moon rocket returns to the launch pad

Artemis I: NASA's mega moon rocket returns to the launch pad
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The giant rocket at the heart of NASA’s plans to return humans to the moon is returning to the launch pad Friday ace The space agency is preparing for the next attempt to launch the Artemis I mission.

The uncrewed test mission is scheduled to fly on November 14, with a 69-minute launch window opening at 12:07 a.m. ET. The launch will be streamed live NASA website.

The Space Launch System, or SLS, rocket began its hours-long trek from its 4-mile (6.4-kilometer) indoor shelter to Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. late Thursday evening.

The missile was stored there for weeks fuel leakage problems that prevented the first two launch attempts and then a A hurricane has passed through Floridaforcing the rocket to evacuate the launch pad and head to safety.

said Jim Free, associate administrator for NASA’s Intelligence Systems Development Mission Directorate.

U.S. Air Force Cape Canaveral meteorologist Mark Burger said the unnamed storm could develop near Puerto Rico over the weekend and slowly move northwestward early next week.

“The National Hurricane Center has only a 30% chance of becoming a named storm,” Burger said. “However, that being said, the models are very consistent in producing some kind of low pressure.”

Forecasters don’t expect it to develop into a strong system, but will monitor potential impacts through the middle of next week, he said.

Returning the 322-foot-tall (98-meter) SLS rocket to the nearby Vehicle Assembly Building, or VAB, gave engineers a chance to take a closer look at the issues. That rocket has been plaguing and perform maintenance.

in September, NASA raced against the clock to get Artemis I off the ground because if it stayed in the spacecraft too long, it risked draining mission-critical batteries. The engineers did charge or replace the batteries the entire rocket and the Orion spacecraft found it sitting in the VAB.

The overall goal of NASA’s Artemis program is to return humans to the Moon for the first time in half a century. And the Artemis I mission, expected to be the first of many, will lay the groundwork by testing the rocket and spacecraft and all their subsystems to ensure they are safe enough to fly astronauts to the moon and back.

But he tried to get this first mission off the ground. The SLS rocket, which cost about $4 billion, ran into problems As the super-cooled liquid was charged with hydrogen, a series of leaks occurred. Defective sensor also gave inaccurate readings as the rocket attempts to “condition” its engines so that the process engines are cooled and not shocked by the temperature of its supercooled fuel.

NASA tried to solve both problems. The Artemis team decided to mask the faulty sensor, ignoring the information it provided. After a second launch attempt in September, the space agency another location tested while the rocket is still on the launch pad.

The purpose of the cryogenic demonstration was to test the seals and use updated “better and gentler” loading procedures for the super-cold propellant the rocket will encounter on launch day. Although the test did not go as planned, NASA said it achieved all of its goals.

NASA officials reiterated that there were delays and technical problems do not necessarily indicate a significant problem with a rocket.

Before SLS, NASA’s space shuttle The program, which has been flying for 30 years, has endured frequent clean launches. SpaceX’s Falcon rockets also have a history of scrubs for mechanical or technical problems.

“I like to think it’s a difficult mission,” Free said. “We’ve seen difficulties in getting all our systems to work together, so we’re doing a flight test. It is the pursuit of things that cannot be modeled. We’re learning by taking more risks on this mission before we send the crew there.”

The Artemis I mission is expected to pave the way for other missions to the moon The Orion capsule, which is designed to carry astronauts and sits atop a rocket during flight, will separate when it reaches space after liftoff. It will fly empty for this mission, except for a few mannequins. The Orion capsule will maneuver to the Moon for several days before entering orbit and begin returning home a few days later.

In total, the mission is expected to last 25 days, with the Orion capsule scheduled to splash off in the Pacific Ocean near San Diego on December 9.

The purpose of the trip is to gather data and test hardware, navigation and other systems to ensure that both the SLS rocket and the Orion capsule are ready to receive astronauts. The Artemis program aims to land the first woman and the first person of color on the lunar surface this decade.

The Artemis II mission, planned for 2024, is expected to follow a similar flight path around the Moon, but with a crew on board. And in 2025, Artemis III is expected to land astronauts on the lunar surface for the first time since NASA’s Apollo program.

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