NASA fixes recent leak, resumes fueling moon rocket for launch – The Denver Post



CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA managed to plug a leak late Tuesday night while fueling its recent moon rocket for a middle-of-the-night launch, its third attempt to put an empty capsule across the moon for the primary time in 50 years.

Hydrogen fuel sprouted from a valve on the launch pad — a special location than leaks during previous launch attempts. Two technicians and a security official rushed into the blast zone to tighten the valve, with emergency rescue employees on standby.

The short repair fixed the leak, allowing hydrogen to resume flowing into the rocket. But then a Space Force radar tracking site went down due to a foul ethernet switch, resulting in one more scramble. The issues pushed the launch into the wee hours of Wednesday, because the countdown clocks held on the 10-minute mark.

“We’re slipping indefinitely into the launch window,” said NASA launch commentator Derrol Nail.

“uel leaks plagued the primary two attempts in late summer, then a pair of hurricanes caused more delays. While engineers never pinpointed the explanation for the escaping hydrogen, they altered the fueling process to reduce leakage and expressed confidence that every one the plumbing within the 322-foot (98-meter) rocket would remain tight and intact.

NASA added an hour to the operation to account for the slower fill-up, vital for reducing pressure on the fuel lines and keeping the seals in place. It appeared to work, but an intermittent hydrogen leak cropped up near the top of the six-hour operation. This particular leaky valve is on the launch platform, not the rocket, officials stressed, and is required to replenish liquid hydrogen because it dissipates from the core stage.

The rocket was gassed up with nearly 1 million gallons (3.7 million liters) of super-cold hydrogen and oxygen, when the newest leak occurred.

NASA expected 15,000 to jam Kennedy Space Center for the launch within the wee hours of Wednesday morning, with 1000’s more lining the beaches and roads outside the gates. The space agency had two hours to get the rocket off, before standing down until Saturday.

The debut of the Space Launch System rocket, often known as SLS, had three test dummies but no astronauts contained in the crew capsule on top, which NASA hoped to place into lunar orbit.

This primary test flight was expected to last three weeks, ending with a splashdown within the Pacific. NASA’s top priority for the $4.1 billion mission is to confirm the capsule’s heat shield during reentry, so 4 astronauts can strap in for the subsequent moonshot in 2024. That might be followed by a two-person lunar landing in 2025.

NASA last sent astronauts to the moon in December 1972, closing out the Apollo program.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely liable for all content.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here