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Fuel leak ruins NASA’s 2nd shot at launching moon rocket

Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
An American flag flies in the breeze as NASA’s new moon rocket sits on Launch Pad 39-B after being scrubbed at the Kennedy Space Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. That is scheduled to function as first flight of NASA’s 21st-century moon-exploration program, named Artemis after Apollo’s mythological twin sister. Credit: AP Photo/Chris O’Meara

NASA’s new moon rocket sprang another dangerous fuel leak Saturday, forcing launch controllers to call off their second attempt this week to send a crew capsule into lunar orbit with test dummies. The inaugural flight is currently off for weeks, or even months.

The prior put on Monday at launching the 322-foot (98-meter) Space Launch System rocket, probably the most powerful ever built by NASA, was also troubled by hydrogen leaks, though these were smaller. That has been along with leaks detected during countdown drills earlier in the entire year.

Following the latest setback, mission managers made a decision to haul the rocket off the pad and in to the hangar for further repairs and system updates. A few of the work and testing could be performed at the pad prior to the rocket is moved. In any event, weeks of work will undoubtedly be needed, in accordance with officials.

With a two-week launch blackout period looming in a few days, the rocket is currently grounded until late September or October. NASA will continue to work around a high-priority SpaceX astronaut flight to the International Space Station scheduled for early October.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson stressed that safety may be the priority, especially on a test flight such as this where everyone really wants to verify the rocket’s systems “before we put four humans through to the very best of it.”

Credit: NASA

“Remember: We’re not likely to launch until it’s right,” he said.

NASA already has been waiting years to send the crew capsule atop the rocket round the moon. If the six-week demo succeeds, astronauts could fly round the moon in 2024 and land onto it in 2025. People last walked on the moon 50 years back.

Launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson and her team had barely started loading nearly 1 million gallons of fuel in to the Space Launch System rocket at daybreak once the large leak cropped up in the engine section in the bottom.

Ground controllers tried to plug it the direction they handled previous, smaller leaks: stopping and restarting the flow of super-cold liquid hydrogen hoping of closing the gap around a seal in the supply line. They tried that twice, actually, and in addition flushed helium through the line. However the leak persisted.

Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
NASA’s new moon rocket sits on Launch Pad 39-B hours before a well planned launch at the Kennedy Space Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. NASA’s new moon rocket sprang another hazardous leak Saturday, because the launch team began fueling it for liftoff on a test flight that has to go prior to astronauts climb aboard. Credit: Joel Kowsky/NASA via AP

Blackwell-Thompson finally halted the countdown after 3 to 4 hours of futile efforts.

Mission manager Mike Sarafin told journalists it had been too early to inform what caused the leak, nonetheless it might have been because of inadvertent over-pressurization of the hydrogen line earlier each morning when someone sent commands to the incorrect valve.

“This is not just a manageable leak,” Sarafin said, adding that the escaping hydrogen exceeded flammability limits by several times.

During Monday’s attempt, a number of small hydrogen leaks popped up there and elsewhere on the rocket. Technicians tightened up the fittings on the following days, but Blackwell-Thompson had cautioned that she wouldn’t know whether everything was tight until Saturday’s fueling.

Hydrogen molecules are exceedingly smallthe smallest in existenceand even the littlest gap or crevice can offer a means out. NASA’s space shuttles, now retired, were suffering from hydrogen leaks. The brand new moon rocket uses exactly the same kind of main engines.

  • Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
    Spectators walk on the Max Brewer Bridge after arriving to see the the NASA Moon Rocket launch from Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, Titusville, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.Credit: AP Photo/Terry Renna
  • Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
    NASA’s new moon rocket sits on Launch Pad 39-B hours before a well planned launch at the Kennedy Space Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. NASA’s new moon rocket sprang another hazardous leak Saturday, because the launch team began fueling it for liftoff on a test flight that has to go prior to astronauts climb aboard. Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP
  • Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
    NASA’s new moon rocket is illuminated by xenon lights as she sits on Launch Pad 39-B hours before a well planned launch at the Kennedy Space Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. That is scheduled to function as first flight of NASA’s 21st-century moon-exploration program, named Artemis after Apollo’s mythological twin sister. Credit: AP Photo/Chris O’Meara
  • Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
    An individual waits for the NASA moon rocket to launch on Pad 39B prior to the Artemis 1 mission to orbit the moon at the Kennedy Space Center, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. NASAs new moon rocket sprang another dangerous fuel leak Saturday, forcing launch controllers to call off their second try to send a crew capsule into lunar orbit with test dummies. Credit: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson
  • Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
    The NASA moon rocket stands on Pad 39B prior to the Artemis 1 mission to orbit the moon at the Kennedy Space Center, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. NASAs new moon rocket sprang another dangerous fuel leak Saturday, forcing launch controllers to call off their second try to send a crew capsule into lunar orbit with test dummies. Credit: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson
  • Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
    Photographers finish off their equipment as NASA’s new moon rocket sits on Launch Pad 39-B after being scrubbed at the Kennedy Space Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. NASAs new moon rocket sprang another dangerous fuel leak Saturday, forcing launch controllers to call off their second try to send a crew capsule into lunar orbit with test dummies. Credit: AP Photo/Chris O’Meara
  • Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
    People await the NASA moon rocket to launch on Pad 39B prior to the Artemis 1 mission to orbit the moon at the Kennedy Space Center, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. NASAs new moon rocket sprang another dangerous fuel leak Saturday, forcing launch controllers to call off their second try to send a crew capsule into lunar orbit with test dummies. Credit: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson
  • Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
    The NASA moon rocket stands on Pad 39B prior to the Artemis 1 mission to orbit the moon at the Kennedy Space Center, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. NASAs new moon rocket sprang another dangerous fuel leak Saturday, forcing launch controllers to call off their second try to send a crew capsule into lunar orbit with test dummies. Credit: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson
  • Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
    People await the NASA moon rocket to launch on Pad 39B prior to the Artemis 1 mission to orbit the moon at the Kennedy Space Center, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The mission was scrubbed on Saturday. Credit: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson
  • Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
    Spectators walk on the Max Brewer Bridge after arriving to see the the NASA Moon Rocket launch from Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, Titusville, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.Credit: AP Photo/Terry Renna
  • Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
    Spectators walk close to the Max Brewer Bridge after arriving to see the the NASA Moon Rocket launch from Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, Titusville, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.Credit: AP Photo/Terry Renna
  • Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
    The countdown clock is stopped as NASA’s new moon rocket sits on Launch Pad 39-B following the launch was scrubbed at the Kennedy Space Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Credit: AP Photo/Chris O’Meara
  • Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
    Spectators walk close to the Max Brewer Bridge after NASA scrubbed the launch attempt of the NASA Moon Rocket from Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, Titusville, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.Credit: AP Photo/Terry Renna
  • Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
    Spectators walk close to the Max Brewer Bridge after NASA scrubbed the launch attempt of the NASA Moon Rocket from Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, Titusville, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.Credit: AP Photo/Terry Renna
  • Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
    Spectators walk off the Max Brewer Bridge after NASA scrubbed the launch attempt of the NASA Moon Rocket from Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center Titusville, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.Credit: AP Photo/Terry Renna
  • Fuel leak ruins NASA's 2nd shot at launching moon rocket
    A OFFICER controls traffic as spectators walk on the Max Brewer Bridge after NASA scrubbed the launch attempt of the NASA Moon Rocket from Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center Titusville, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.Credit: AP Photo/Terry Renna

A lot more of an issue Monday was a sensor indicated among the rocket’s four engines was too warm, though engineers later verified it actually was cool enough. The launch team planned to disregard the faulty sensor these times and depend on other instruments to make sure each main engine was properly chilled. However the countdown never got that far.

A large number of individuals who jammed the coast on the long Labor Day weekend, hoping to start to see the Space Launch System rocket soar, left disappointed.

The $4.1 billion test flight may be the first rung on the ladder in NASA’s Artemis program of renewed lunar exploration, named following the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology.

Years behind schedule and billions over budget, Artemis aims to determine a sustained human presence on the moon, with crews eventually spending weeks at the same time there. It’s considered an exercise ground for Mars.

Twelve astronauts walked on the moon through the Apollo program, the final amount of time in 1972.



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Citation: Leak ruins NASA moon rocket launch bid; next try weeks away (Update) (2022, September 3) retrieved 4 September 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-09-fuel-leak-nasa-2nd-shot.html

This document is at the mercy of copyright. Aside from any fair dealing for the intended purpose of private study or research, no part could be reproduced minus the written permission. This content is provided for information purposes only.

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