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The Artemis I rocket will make its third launch attempt on Tuesday, September 27, but Tropical Depression Nine could change that.
The 70-minute launch window opens at 11:37 a.m. ET and the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft continue on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Concerns about a weather system forming in the Caribbean have weather conditions only 20% for a launch. The current track of the tropical depression will affect Cuba and Florida early next week.
Given the uncertainty of the storm’s track, intensity and arrival time, the Artemis team will use the latest data to inform the decision, said Mike Bolger, manager of NASA’s Exploration Earth Systems Program.
“Deep tropical moisture will pour over the Spaceport on Tuesday, with overcast clouds and scattered showers during the launch window,” according to a forecast issued by the US Space Force on Friday.
Launch constraints require the Artemis I mission to avoid precipitation. The launch limits are designed to prevent natural and triggered lightning on rockets in flight, which could damage the rocket and endanger public safety, according to the Space Force.
Rocket-triggered lightning occurs when a large rocket flies through a relatively strong atmospheric electric field, so clouds that aren’t producing natural lightning can still trigger rocket-triggered lightning, according to the Space Force.
The Artemis team is closely monitoring the weather and will make a decision on Saturday. If the rocket stack needs to be returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center, the process could take several days.
Meanwhile, the Artemis team is encouraged after a “really successful tank test” and “the rocket is looking good for the upcoming launch attempts,” said John Blevins, SLS director at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. chief engineers
The mega moon rocket’s crucial feeding test met all of its goals on Wednesday, despite two hydrogen leaks.
The purpose of the cryogenic demonstration was to test the replaced seals and use updated, “kinder and gentler” loading procedures for the supercold propellant that the rocket would undergo on launch day.
NASA engineers detected a liquid hydrogen leak during the test that had the “same signature” as the leak that prevented the September 3 launch attempt. However, troubleshooting efforts allowed the team to manage the leak.
The team was able to fill the core stage with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. They also performed an engine bleed, which conditions the four engines and lowers their temperature before starting. (The mission team cleared the first attempt to launch Artemis I on August 29 with a faulty sensor that largely occurred during the bleed.)
A hydrogen leak detected in the 4-inch quick-disconnect line for the engine bleed exceeded the 4% threshold during a pre-pressurization test. This quick-disconnect line carries the liquid hydrogen from the engines after passing through the engines and cooling them. But the escape rate fell on its own.
Additionally, the Artemis team has received Space Force approval for a September 27 launch attempt and an October 2 safety date.
The Space Force oversees all rocket launches from the East Coast of the United States, including NASA’s Florida launch site, an area known as the East Coast. District officials are tasked with ensuring that there is no danger to people or property from the launch attempt.
After receiving detailed data from NASA, the Space Force issued a waiver of launch dates.
The inaugural mission of the Artemis program will begin a phase of NASA space exploration that aims to land various crews of astronauts in previously unexplored regions of the moon – the Artemis II and Artemis III missions, scheduled for 2024 and 2025, respectively – and eventually. Deliver manned missions to Mars.