Critical NASA lunar missile test thwarted for the third time

They don’t really like her.

Three times is no magic to NASA. For the third time in a row, he released the so-called wet rehearsal – Final rehearsal for Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion, before the first test flight – canceled early. The agency is now working hard on solutions so that delays are limited.

What was that again?
The time has come a few years later: NASA wants to bring the first woman and the next man to the moon. This will be done using the all-new launch vehicle, the SLS, and the all-new Orion space capsule. In mid-March, NASA announced that both were nearing completion and They were able to undergo the last big test Before the first test flight: the so-called wet rehearsal

More about wet dress rehearsal
As mentioned, the rehearsal is the last major test of SLS and Orion before its first test flight to the Moon. During this wet training, the operator’s fuel tanks are refilled, after which all actions that must take place before the actual launch – even the countdown – are completed. There is no release yet during this rehearsal. The purpose of the training is to practice filling the tanks and performing all the necessary operations once before the real thing. If the rehearsal goes smoothly, then a more accurate target date for the real launch can be established.

.’s first attempt wet rehearsal At the beginning of this month. Unfortunately, the dress rehearsal was terminated early towards the end of the afternoon. First, there was an issue with the temperature limit of liquid oxygen, which delayed the countdown by several hours. In the end, the test was canceled entirely due to a “broken valve”. The vent valve of the ejector turned out to be broken; A rather important part, as this valve regulates the pressure during refueling. And so it was decided wet rehearsal to a later date.

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second try
The new attempt was supposed to take place on April 11. But also this time, the rehearsal was called off when a problem with the upper stage motor was discovered. The motor in the upper stage uses helium to liquefy the motor and also to activate the valves in the upper stage. However, the teams had trouble maintaining proper helium pressure. And so it was decided to postpone the second attempt as well.

custom dress
NASA said it will try again in a few days. In the meantime, the cause of the problem appeared: the helium check valve was not working properly. And so it was decided wet rehearsal forced to adapt. The giant launch vehicle will only be partially filled with fuel; The upper stage will not be fully fed. The missile will then be returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building – the site where the SLS was assembled – to address issues that have arisen.

Three times is not magic
However, things are not going well for NASA. Because unfortunately the third attempt also fell into the water. This was due to an unexpected leak, which led to the release of liquid hydrogen. This can be dangerous, as hydrogen is highly flammable. Fortunately, the leak was noticed in time. However, it also meant that this frantic third attempt was prematurely aborted.

delay
How things are going now is expected to be announced tonight. A fourth attempt will likely be made. that wet rehearsal However, now that it has been canceled three times in a row, it is of course quite discouraging for the US agency. This means that the test flight to the moon will also be delayed. The intention was that the Space Launch System and the Orion mounted on it would make the real test flight sometime in May. But due to the current situation, this idea was abandoned.

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However, there is definitely no adjustment from deferment. Because sometime in the next decade, NASA will be sending astronauts to the moon. By the way, the desired goal for 2024 was Previously declared not possible† At the earliest, NASA expects to be able to go to the Moon in 2025. But before that, there are still important tests on the program. After the test flight to the Moon – known as Artemis 1 – there will be an unmanned and another manned test flight to our natural satellite. Only then is the long-awaited moon landing in the program. It will not stop at just one. Because NASA plans to return to the moon at least ten times.

Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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