Big setback for NASA on Artemis I Moon mission launch; this is why | Tech News

Big setback for NASA on Artemis I Moon mission launch; this is why

NASA has planned to forego additional launch attempts of Artemis I to the Moon in early September. Here is all you need to know.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Sep 04 2022, 10:05 IST
NASA: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter makes astonishing discovery
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1/6 The lunar pits found by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have mild temperatures, drastically different from the extreme conditions on the surface of the Moon. The temperatures in these caves are nearly 17 degree Celsius almost at all times. (NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)
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2/6 NASA Moon recently tweeted, "Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images of pits indicate that the Moon has caves. Could they become astronaut habitats? Scientists have discovered that parts of the pits are always about 63°F (17°C), differing from extreme temperatures at the Moon's surface". (NASA)
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3/6 The surface temperatures on the Moon can go from an extremely high 127 degrees Celsius and as low as -173 degrees Celsius. "The pits, and caves to which they may lead, would make thermally stable sites for lunar exploration compared to areas at the Moon's surface, which heat up to 260 F (about 127 C) during the day and cool to minus 280 F (about minus 173 C) at night,” NASA Moon tweeted further. (NASA)
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4/6 First discovered in 2009, these lunar pits could potentially be used as location for a first Moon Base. Not only are the temperatures moderate, but these pits could also provide protection against cosmic rays, solar radiation and micrometeorites, according to NASA. (AP)
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5/6 LRO Project Scientist Noah Petro of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said, “Lunar pits are a fascinating feature on the lunar surface. Knowing that they create a stable thermal environment helps us paint a picture of these unique lunar features and the prospect of one day exploring them.” (NASA)
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6/6 The particular pit used to analyze the thermal properties by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was in an area of the Moon known as the Mare Tranquillitatis. It is 100-meters deep and as wide as a football field. According to scientists, the overhang of the pit is responsible for creating shadows on the Moon and maintaining a temperature of nearly 17 degrees Celsius at all times. (NASA)
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Know why NASA plans to forego additional launch attempts of Artemis I in early September. (NASA)

NASA on Saturday, September 3 made a second attempt to launch Artemis I to the Moon, however, due to a hydrogen leak the launch could not be done. Now the mission managers have decided to forego additional launch attempts in early September. Informing about the NASA said in a blog pots, "After standing down on today's Artemis I launch attempt when engineers could not overcome a hydrogen leak in a quick disconnect, an interface between the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, mission managers met and decided they will forego additional launch attempts in early September."

NASA via a tweet also informed that the team plans to return with a variety of options early next week. "#Artemis Update: The team continues to troubleshoot, and plans to return with a variety of options early next week. We are standing down on any launch attempts through the current launch period, which ends Tuesday," the tweet read.

Over the next several days, teams will establish access to the area of the leak at Launch Pad 39B, and in parallel conduct a schedule assessment to provide additional data that will inform a decision on whether to perform work to replace a seal either at the pad, where it can be tested under cryogenic conditions, or inside the Vehicle Assembly Building, NASA informed.

"To meet the requirement by the Eastern Range for the certification on the flight termination system, currently set at 25 days, NASA will need to roll the rocket and spacecraft back to the VAB before the next launch attempt to reset the system's batteries. The flight termination system is required on all rockets to protect public safety," the blog post read.

It can be known that during Saturday's launch attempt, engineers saw a leak in a cavity between the ground side and rocket side plates surrounding an 8-inch line used to fill and drain liquid hydrogen from the SLS rocket. Three attempts at reseating the seal were unsuccessful.

While in an early phase of hydrogen loading operations called chilldown, when launch controllers cool down the lines and propulsion system prior to flowing super cold liquid hydrogen into the rocket's tank at minus 423 degrees F, an inadvertent command was sent that temporarily raised the pressure in the system.

Because of the complex orbital mechanics involved in launching to the Moon, NASA would have had to launch Artemis I by Tuesday, September 6 as part of the current launch period, the blog post informed.

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First Published Date: 04 Sep, 10:05 IST
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