In a press briefing Tuesday, NASA managers announced that September 3 would be the next launch attempt of the Artemis 1 mission. The managers also discussed what the team is doing to resolve the problems found during Monday morning’s countdown.
Engine 3’s low temps could be a faulty sensor
John Honeycutt, manager of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, stated that the data received on the ground and from the vehicle about temperatures inside the bad RS-25 engine did not match. However, there is still a chance that Engine 3 was out of norms from the other engines as it is the furthest from the bleed connections on the rocket. Honeycutt said that it is more likely that a sensor is bad however, getting access to replace the center would be difficult while on the pad.
The planned fix for the bleed test issue will be to move the test earlier into the countdown, similar to how it was done during SLS’ Green Run Test in February of 2021. On Monday, the test was conducted when the liquid hydrogen tanks were refueling, but this differed from the Green Run’s timing. So Saturday’s launch attempt would put this closer to the start of fueling.
Teams aren’t concerned about intertank valve leak
The second problem that scrubbed Monday’s launch attempt was a possible leak found with the valve on the intertank. Artemis 1 launch director, Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, stated that the issue was with a quick disconnect seal and it was warmed up and then hit with cold temperatures. This sort of event isn’t expected to happen again, so it is now a non-issue going into Saturday.
This valve’s leak was connected to an attempt to fix Engine 3’s bleed test problem. When pushing the hydrogen tank to flight levels the valve leak would act up not letting them move further. Between these two problems, NASA managers decided to scrub the attempt.
Artemis 1 Saturday launch attempt weather
The weather for Artemis 1’s next launch attempt will be rough as the window moves into Florida’s infamous stormy afternoons. Right now, Space Launch Delta 45 gives Artemis 1 a 40% probability of good launch weather. However the 45th’s launch weather officer, Mark Burger, has hope they will find time within the launch window that will work.
Stick around Space Explored for more updates on Artemis 1’s next launch attempt, as our team will be on-site covering the events as they happen.