NASA officials are hoping for a late September launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (WHNT) — NASA officials have announced potential new dates for the launch of Artemis I. They hope to make another attempt by the end of the month.

Artemis mission officials held a briefing Thursday morning to provide an update on crews’ progress in resolving an issue with a liquid hydrogen supply line where it connects to the central stage of the Space Launch System (SLS). A hydrogen leak there forced NASA to cancel its September 2 launch attempt and completely cancel the one scheduled for September 5.

“Our requested dates that we set yesterday were September 23 and September 27,” Associate Administrator Jim Free said during the briefing. “We are trying to work with other NASA programs and obviously other users of the range as well.”

If the launch takes place on September 23, the window will open at 5:47 a.m. and last about 80 minutes, with the Orion spacecraft returning to Earth on October 18.

A launch on September 27 will see a 70-minute launch window open at 10:37 a.m., with the mission continuing until November 5.

However, a potential launch requires two things to happen first. First, the Eastern Channel must approve NASA’s request to remain on the launch pad beyond the 25 days it has currently certified the flight termination system. If they do not receive this approval, the rocket will have to be taken back to the vehicle assembly building to reset the system batteries.

Second, engineers need to repair both the 8-inch line and the 4-inch line used to fill and drain liquid hydrogen from the SLS’s center stage. These patches must go through a tank test on the launch pad with super cold Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Hydrogen fuels.

That test is scheduled for September 17, but Free said the test could be pushed back if crews needed more time to fix the lines.

As an added precaution, the launch team plans “a smoother, gentler approach to refueling” during the final phase of the countdown, sometimes slowing the flow of fuel to reduce stress on the seals, according to Mike Bolger, head of the Exploration Ground Systems program.

Liquid hydrogen leaks between mobile launch have plagued NASA during their wetsuit rehearsals and previous launch attempts.


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