Next attempt to refuel the SLS is scheduled for June 19

NASA has published a new schedule of final tests of the superheavy SLS rocket, which will be involved in the Artemis I mission. On June 5, the carrier will leave the Vehicle Assembly Building and head to the launch pad. On June 19, engineers will try to fully refuel the rocket and hold a dress rehearsal of the pre-launch countdown.

Unsuccessful attempt to refuel SLS

The test scheduled for June 19 will be the fourth attempt to refuel the SLS with fuel (liquid hydrogen and oxygen). The previous three tests, which took place in April 2022, were never completed due to various technical problems related to both the mobile launch platform and the rocket. Because of this, engineers had to return the SLS to the Vehicle Assembly Building to service the replacement of faulty components.

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

SLS Repair

According to NASA representatives, they have successfully completed all planned repairs. In particular, engineers replaced a faulty helium valve on the upper stage of the SLS and eliminated the leakage of hydrogen from the umbilical cord connecting the first stage to the mobile platform. And Air Liquide has completed the modernization and successfully tested the nitrogen supply system, which is necessary for the normal functioning of the launch pad.

Rolling out the SLS rocket from the Vehicle Assembly Building. Source: NASA/Kim Shiflett

In addition, the engineers performed part of the operations that were originally supposed to take place after the rocket was refueled. So, they removed the sensors used to determine the loads from the SLS during its placement on the launch pad. In addition, engineers have placed a part of the satellites on the rocket, which will be launched into space together with the Orion spacecraft. This will save time in the future when the SLS is being prepared for launch.

SLS Launch Date

Earlier, NASA administrator Bill Nelson said that the organization will not set any formal launch dates for the SLS until the successful completion of the procedure and evaluation of the work required for flight preparation. But it is known that they hope to implement it in August 2022. According to NASA, during the specified period, the launch window for the flight to the Moon will be open from August 26 to August 10 (except August 1, 2 and 6), as well as from August 23 to September 6 (except August 30 and 31 and September 1).

Recall that earlier we published a video demonstrating the process of deploying solar panels of the Orion spacecraft.

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