The Artemis rocket will undergo its next training no later than 19 June. Since June can bring many thunderstorms in Florida, the NASA team will monitor the weather closely and adjust dates as needed.
The critical test, known as the wet suit drill, simulates each stage of the launch without the missile leaving the launch pad. This process includes loading the ultra-cold propellant, performing a complete countdown simulating launch, resetting the countdown clock, and draining the missile tank.
After three drills in April, the missile group was returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building on April 26 to address problems that arose during the trial run.
Since then, engineers have replaced and tested the upper-stage check valve and repaired a minor leak in the navel tail service pylon used when refueling, said Cliff Lanham, senior director of vehicle operations for NASA’s Earth Exploration Systems Program.
Meanwhile, Air Liquide, which supplies the launch pad with gaseous nitrogen, has upgraded and tested its pipeline configuration to support the testing and launch of the Artemis I.
The Artemis team also examined some preliminary tasks that were originally to be carried out after the next wet-clothes rehearsal.
After the Artemis rocket group finished their training, they would return to the building to await launch day.
There’s a long history behind the difficult process of testing new systems before a rocket launch, and what the Artemis team faced was similar to what the Apollo and Castle Shuttle teams faced, including multiple test attempts and pre-launch delays.
The results of the wetsuit training will determine when Artemis I will embark on a mission beyond the Moon and return to Earth. The mission will launch NASA’s Artemis program, which is expected to return humans to the moon and land the first woman and first person of color on the moon by 2025.
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