NASA could not refuel the lunar rocket

NASA specialists were unable to carry out a dress rehearsal for the launch of the superheavy SLS rocket. This was prevented by a series of technical problems. A new attempt to carry out the operation will be made after the launch of the Ax-1 commercial mission to the ISS.

The SLS rocket is on the launch pad. Source: NASA

The dress rehearsal for the launch of the SLS provides for the complete refueling of the rocket with fuel components, followed by the development of the pre-launch countdown procedure. After that, the carrier will be returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building for final operations to prepare it for launch as part of the Artemis I mission. Currently, it is scheduled for the summer of 2022.

Unsuccessful attempt to refuel SLS

The first attempt to refuel the SLS was made on April 4. However, the engineers had to interrupt it due to an unplanned stop of the fans of the ML-1 mobile launch platform. They are necessary to create increased pressure in closed compartments to avoid the accumulation of dangerous gases.

The SLS rocket is on the launch pad. Source: NASA/Kim Shiflett

After troubleshooting, on April 5, NASA engineers made a new attempt. First they started refueling the rocket with liquid oxygen. Shortly after that, a sensor warning of exceeding the permissible temperature was triggered on the carrier. It took several hours to change the oxygen supply parameters.

The next step was to refuel the first stage with liquid hydrogen. However, specialists have not been able to open the valves on the ML-1 responsible for its supply. Later it turned out that they were installed in a position that did not allow them to be opened on command. 

At a subsequent briefing, NASA representatives said that, despite the problems, the engineers managed to work out many important procedures. The next attempt to conduct a rehearsal will be carried out after the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket, which will send the Ax-1 mission to the ISS. At the moment, it is scheduled for April 8.

According to

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