Last Friday, NASA attempted the Artemis 1 ‘wet dress rehearsal’ — which is essentially a run-through of the most important prelaunch events, such as rocket fuelling — at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. However, the crucial prelaunch test was halted after the teams encountered a valve issue during tanking.
After a recent glitch postponed the wet dress rehearsal for NASA’s Artemis 1 mission earlier this week, the US’ space agency gave it another shot on Saturday. The two-day test was scheduled to begin at around 2:30 am on April 9 and wrap up on Monday, April 11, according to a blog post by NASA.
Last Friday, the attempted ‘wet dress rehearsal’ — which is essentially a run-through of the most important prelaunch events — at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida came to a halt after the teams encountered a valve issue during tanking.
The wet dress rehearsal stimulates every stage of the launch apart from the rocket actually leaving the launchpad. This includes a full countdown, loading the rocket’s tanks with supercold propellant and draining the rocket tanks.
NASA’s ambitious Artemis I mission aims to send the first rocket to the moon in decades. If carried out successfully, NASA will then send a crew to the moon as part of its Artemis II and Artemis III missions.
“In continued preparations for the Artemis I wet dress rehearsal test, with tanking targeted for Monday, teams encountered an issue maintaining helium purge pressure on the upper stage engine after change-out of a regulator on the mobile launcher,” NASA said in a news release. “After initial troubleshooting, the team reestablished normal helium purge, and is continuing work to determine the cause of a restriction in the helium flow.”
Once the test is completed, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft will be transported back to the Vehicle Assembly Building for a series of final tests before its maiden launch, which is expected to happen sometime in the next few months.
Based on the results of the test, NASA will be able to determine when the uncrewed Artemis I will launch, kicking off the space agency’s Artemis project.