NASA postponed the SLS launch rehearsal

NASA management has decided to postpone the dress rehearsal for the launch of the superheavy SLS rocket. This was due to technical problems with the mobile launcher platform (ML-1).

Mobile Launcher platform

Construction of the ML-1 platform began in February 2009. It was originally intended for the Ares 1 rocket, which was being developed as part of the Constellation program. By the time the program closed in 2011, the ML assembly was almost complete. The 120-meter-high and 4,000-ton structure cost NASA USD 900 million. Subsequently, the organization decided to re-equip the ML-1 for the needs of the SLS. As a result, the total cost of the platform exceeded USD 1 billion.

ML-1 mobile launcher platform. Source: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Rescheduling the SLS launch rehearsal

According to the engineers, during the tests, the ML-1 switches tripped, stopping the operation of the fans. They are necessary to create increased pressure in the closed compartments of the platform to avoid the accumulation of dangerous gases. 

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

In the near future, experts plan to solve the problem with the fans, which will allow continuing preparation for the dress rehearsal of the launch of the SLS. Within its framework, the rocket will be fully refueled, and engineers will work out the pre-launch countdown procedure.

After that, the SLS will be returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building for final operations to prepare it for launch as part of the Artemis I mission. According to the latest data, it will take place in early summer. The nearest ballistic windows for the flight to the Moon will be open from May 7 to May 21, from June 6 to June 16 and from June 29 to July 12.

Recall that NASA recently announced its intention to support the creation of a second lunar lander for the needs of the Artemis program

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