NASA says delayed Moon rocket passed fueling test

    NASA said Wednesday it had successfully trialed the fueling process for its new Moon rocket.
    By: AFP
    | Updated on: Sep 23 2022, 00:51 IST
    In Pics: NASA set to return to the Moon with the Artemis 1 Mission
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    1/5 According to NASA, Artemis I will be the first uncrewed flight test of the Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft. The Orion capsule will carry various objects like Snoopy dog toy which will fly as a zero-gravity indicator in the capsule. A new version of Alexa called Callisto created by Lockheed Martin, Amazon, and Cisco will also be aboard the spacecraft. (REUTERS)
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    2/5 The Artemis Programme is NASA’s first attempt to send a manned mission to the Moon since the Apollo missions in 1972. Earlier this month, NASA administrator Bill Nelson said, “To all of us that gaze up at the Moon, dreaming of the day humankind returns to the lunar surface, folks, we're here. We are going back.” (REUTERS)
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    3/5 The rocket and the Orion spacecraft have already been rolled out onto the launchpad on August 16. Although the rollout was scheduled to happen today on August 18, NASA moved up the plans and rolled out the Orion spacecraft on top of NASA’s brand-new Space Launcher System. (REUTERS)
    NASA manikin
    4/5 When NASA launches the Artemis 1 mission using the Space Launcher System on August 29, the Orion spacecraft, although unmanned, will carry 3 manikins called Zohar, Helga and Campos to space as human stand-ins for various tests and studies. They will be retrofitted with a vast number of sensors to conduct tests regarding the spaceflight. (NASA)
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    5/5 ason Hutt, NASA lead for Orion Crew Systems Integration said, “It’s critical for us to get data from the Artemis I manikin to ensure all of the newly designed systems, coupled with an energy dampening system that the seats are mounted on, integrate together and provide the protection crew members will need in preparation for our first crewed mission on Artemis II.” (NASA)
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    NASA's Artemis I launch has already been scrubbed twice due to malfunctions and leaks. (AP)

    NASA said Wednesday it had successfully trialed the fueling process for its new rocket, after technical issues a few weeks ago halted two attempts to get the behemoth off the ground and headed towards the Moon.

    "All of the objectives that we set out to do we were able to accomplish today," said Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, launch director of the program called Artemis 1.

    The unmanned mission hopes to test the new 30-story SLS rocket as well as the unmanned Orion capsule that sits atop it, in preparation for future Moon-bound journeys with humans aboard.

    The last attempt in early September to launch NASA's most powerful rocket yet had to be aborted because of a leak while its cryogenic fuels -- liquid hydrogen and oxygen -- were being pumped into the rocket's tanks.

    Repairs were carried out and Wednesday's test involved filling those tanks again.

    Though a small hydrogen leak was detected during the test, NASA engineers were able to get it under control.

    Last week NASA said it is now aiming for September 27 as the next date for liftoff. October 2 was set as a backup date.

    "Teams will evaluate the data from the test, along with weather and other factors, before confirming readiness to proceed into the next launch opportunity," NASA said.

    Asked about the timing of the next launch attempt, Blackwell-Thompson declined to comment, though she said she was "extremely encouraged by the test today."

    US officials are also keeping a close eye on Hurricane Fiona's trajectory off the coast in the Atlantic.

    For the September 27 date to be possible, NASA must receive a waiver to avoid retesting the batteries on a detonation system used to destroy the rocket if it strays uncontrollably off course.

    The next mission, Artemis 2, would take astronauts to the Moon without landing on its surface, while the third -- set for the mid-2020s -- would see the first woman and person of color on lunar soil.

    NASA wants to build a lunar space station called Gateway and keep a sustained presence on the Moon to gain insight into how to survive very long space missions, ahead of a mission to Mars in the 2030s.

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    First Published Date: 23 Sep, 00:51 IST
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