SLS rocket will be re-installed on the launch pad in early June

NASA plans to re-install the SLS superheavy rocket on the LC-39B launch pad in early June. After that, the engineers will make a new attempt to hold a dress rehearsal of its launch.

SLS Technical Problems

The SLS was first installed on the launch pad in March 2022. As part of the dress rehearsal of the launch, the carrier was planned to be completely refueled with fuel components (liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen), after which the engineers had to work out the pre-launch countdown procedure.

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

In total, NASA has made three attempts to refuel the rocket. None of them was completed due to various technical problems related to both the mobile launcher platform and the carrier. As a result, the leadership of the aerospace administration decided to return the SLS to the Vehicle Assembly Building for maintenance and replacement of faulty components of the rocket and mobile platform.

Successful repair of SLS

In a recently released statement, NASA said that engineers have completed all planned work. In particular, they 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. They also confirmed that no rainwater had entered the Orion spacecraft during their stay on the launch pad, and made updates to the software used during the refueling of the SLS. In addition, 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

The SLS will be placed back on the launch pad in early June. The attempt to refuel the rocket will take place two weeks after that. According to NASA representatives, they will not set a launch date for the Artemis I mission until the successful completion of the procedure and evaluation of the work necessary for flight preparation. But earlier, NASA administrator Bill Nelson reported that, in his opinion, the rocket would go to the Moon in August 2022.

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