Artemis 1: NASA conducts ‘wet test’ of mission; see how to watch

After several delays, NASA finallymanaged to start the “wet trial” of the Artemis 1 mission, the main pre-launch test, which is currently scheduled for august. The procedure started last Saturday and should end on Monday (20). A press conference is scheduled for the 21st, where the results of the analysis should be published.

In the latest update released by NASA, it was reported that engineers had bonded the Orion spacecraft and the main stage of the SLS (Space Launch System). The teams also set up various ground systems, rockets and spacecraft and conducted activities to prepare the connectors that connect the rocket and spacecraft to the launch vehicle and are used to provide power, communication, cooling and fuel. The proceedings are broadcast live by NASA.

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Remember the “wet trial” of Artemis 1

The “wet test” is a test for NASA to power the rocket and guarantee the launch. The test originally began on April 1, but after identifying a series of critical failures in the loading of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the SLS thrusters, NASA decided to halt the process to prioritize the launch. of the Ax-1 mission, the first private manned mission. flight to the International Space Station (ISS) without the presence of an active astronaut from any federal agency, which took place on April 8.

Thus, the “wet test” was resumed the following Monday (12), with expected completion on Wednesday (14). This time, the teams responsible preferred to modify the procedures, supplying liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen only to the main stage, without filling the upper stage.

Powering the SLS, which will take the Artemis-1 mission to the Moon on Kennedy Space Center’s Platform 39B in Cape Canaveral, Florida / Photo: NASA/Joel Kowsky

However, once again things did not go as planned and the rehearsal was put on hold, hoping to resume, initially, on the 21st of this month. After communicating this possible date, NASA announced the recall of the SLS+Orion stack to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) for further analysis and necessary repairs to the identified faulty valve in the launch tower mobile and a hydrogen leak in one of the umbilical arms that connect the tower to the rocket.

At approximately 7 a.m. on the 26th Brasilia time, the mega-rocket and the Orion spacecraft arrived at VAB, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, after a 10-hour journey from Launch Pad 39B, from where they were taken for examination.

Since then, the teams have been working to resolve the problems identified. The faulty valve has since been replaced and engineers discovered that rubber debris was preventing it from closing properly. According to the agency, the debris was not part of the valve and its origin is under investigation.

They also detected that some of the screws in one of the umbilical arms connecting the turret to the rocket had loosened slightly due to loose compression in a joint, leading to a fuel leak.

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Artemis program

The Artemis program aims to restore human presence on the Moon, more than 50 years after the last manned lunar mission in history. Artemis 1 will be the first of the Artemis lunar program. In this initial mission, the Orion capsule travels uncrewed to Earth’s natural satellite, for about a month.

According Nasa, the mission can last between 26 and 28 days, or 38 to 42 days, depending on which day the SLS can take off. “The duration of the mission is varied by performing a half turn or 1.5 turns around the Moon in distant retrograde orbit, before returning to Earth,” he explained to the agency in a press release.

If all goes well, the Artemis 2 mission will send astronauts on a similar project around the Moon in 2024. So, in 2025 or 2026, Artemis 3 will land astronauts near the lunar south pole.

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