NASA delays Artemis I mission fuel load test

Miami, Apr 9 (Latest) .- Due to a technical problem, NASA delayed until next week the fuel load test scheduled to begin this Saturday at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral (Florida) as part of a general rehearsal of the upcoming Artemis I lunar mission.

On NASA’s blog, the agency said today that the test with the Space Launch System rocket and the attached Orion spacecraft has been postponed due to a malfunctioning valve and that it hopes to conduct it “no sooner” than next Thursday. April 14th.

“Engineers have identified a helium check valve that is not working as expected, requiring these changes to ensure the safety of flight hardware,” the agency announced on its blog dedicated to the Artemis I mission.

“Due to changes in the loading procedures required for the modified test, the ‘wet dress’ test is scheduled to resume with a call to stations on Tuesday, April 12 and the ‘tanking’ test on Thursday, April 14.” , reported the agency.

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“The ‘wet clothing’ trial is an opportunity to refine countdown procedures and validate critical models and software interfaces,” NASA said.

The “modified test” announced today that they will conduct next week “will allow engineers to achieve test objectives critical to launch success,” he added.

According to NASA, helium is used for a number of different operations, including engine bleeding or cleaning lines before propellants are loaded during tanking. It also serves to drain the propellant.

The damaged helium check valve is approximately three inches long (7.62 cm) and prevents helium from flowing out of the rocket.

After the modified test, the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft will return to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), where engineers will evaluate the valve and replace it if necessary.

“The teams are confident in the ability to replace the valve once they return to VAB,” the agency said.

Artemis I is NASA’s first mission under the Artemis program, which aims to bring astronauts to the Moon by 2025.

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The first mission, for which there is no date yet, will be an unmanned trip around the Moon to test the Space Launch System and its Orion crew capsule, which carries an experiment suite and a dummy covered with sensors.

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