Artemis 1 launch scrubbed

LATEST:NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development Jim Free and Artemis Mission Manager Mike Sarafin spoke Saturday around 4 pm, addressing the scrub of Saturday’s Artemis 1 launch.”We do not launch until we think it’s right,” Nelson said . “Our teams have labored over that and that is the conclusion they came to…Safety is the top of the list.”Free said the launch will not come Monday or Tuesday, but will need to be later, likely late September or October . Late September is less likely because of conflicts with SpaceX Crew 5.”We don’t go into these tests lightly,” Free said. “We were confident coming into today, but we’re not going to launch until we’re ready.” Sarafin stated the large hydrogen leak occurred when crews went from the “slow fill” to the “quick fill.” He said teams tried three times to resolve the leak, but were unsuccessful. He added that the size of the leak created a flammability risk and that hydrogen is volatile.Sarafin said engineers discussed multiple options but none would have allowed for the launch to take place before the end of the launch period on Sept. 6. Officials confirmed the rocket will need to be rolled back to VAB because the batteries need to be changed. Nelson stated that this does not presently pose any risk to the timeline for future Artemis missions: Artemis II still is slated for 2024 and Artemis III is still slated for 2025 .”The cost of two scrubs is a lot less than a failure,” Nelson said.WATCH BELOW: NASA update following Saturday Artemis 1 scrubPrevious story below:The second launch attempt of Artemis 1 from Kennedy Space Center on Saturday was unfortunately unsuccessful. According to NASA, a hydrogen leak was detected in the supply side of the 8-inch quick disconnect while attempting to transfer fuel to the rocket. The hydrogen leak was discovered at about 7 am and multiple different tactics were tried to address the issue. Launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson and her team tried to plug Saturday’s leak by stopping and restarting the flow of super-cold liquid hydrogen in hopes of removing the gap around a seal in the supply line. They tried that twice, in fact, and also flushed helium through the line. But the leak persisted. Eventually, engineers told officials that their recommendation was that the launch should be scrubbed. Blackwell-Thompson finally halted the countdown after three to four hours of futile effort, around 11:15 am NASA Administrator Bill Nelson on hand for the launch said, “We will go when its ready. We don’t go until then and especially now on a test flight because we are going to stress test it and test that heat shield and make sure it’s right before we put four humans up on the top of it.”The administrator added that scrubs are part of the space program. NASA rockets are complicated vehicles, but especially with the SLS as all those systems are working together for the first time. One of the issues that popped in Monday’s launch attempt was also a hydrogen leak. “When you are using liquid hydrogen as your propellant, as your fuel. Hydrogen is your smallest molecule, two hydrogen atoms and literally the small size of the molecule it can leak really easily, through tiny cracks,” said Phil Metzger of UCF’s Florida’s Space InstituteSo as we push forward with more launch Artemis I launch attempts, NASA engineers might have to deal with even more hydrogen leaks on the SLS. Another issue that halted the launch on Monday was a sensor reading saying that the engine wasn’t cold enough.”We had some sensors that didn’t tell us what we thought we would do and we did the right thing by standing down with that uncertainty on Monday, but we have confirmed that we did have good flow through those engines. We know we can chill those engines. We are ready to proceed that way. We’ve analyzed and the teams are ready to support launch attempts on Saturday,” John Blevins, Space Launch System chief engineer, had said earlier in the week.When the launch does take place, the rocket will launch without astronauts, orbiting the moon before coming back to earth. The flight is paving the way for future launches that will send astronauts to the moon and beyond.

LATEST:

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development Jim Free and Artemis Mission Manager Mike Sarafin spoke Saturday around 4 pm, addressing the scrub of Saturday’s Artemis 1 launch.

“We don’t launch until we think it’s right,” Nelson said. “Our teams have labored over that and that [scrubbing] is the conclusion they came to…Safety is the top of the list.”

Free said the launch will not come Monday or Tuesday, but will need to be later, likely late September or October. Late September is less likely because of conflicts with SpaceX Crew 5.

“We don’t go into these tests lightly,” Free said. “We were confident coming into today, but we’re not going to launch until we’re ready.”

Sarafin stated the large hydrogen leak occurred when crews went from the “slow fill” to the “quick fill.”

He said teams tried three times to resolve the leak, but were unsuccessful. He added that the size of the leak created a flammability risk and that hydrogen is volatile.

Sarafin said engineers discussed multiple options but none would have allowed for the launch to take place before the end of the launch period on Sept. 6.

Officials confirmed the rocket will need to be rolled back to VAB because the batteries need to be changed.

Nelson stated that this does not presently pose any risk to the timeline for future Artemis missions: Artemis II still is slated for 2024 and Artemis III is still slated for 2025.

“The cost of two scrubs is a lot less than a failure,” Nelson said.

WATCH BELOW: NASA update following Saturday Artemis 1 scrub

Previous story below:

The second launch attempt of Artemis 1 from Kennedy Space Center on Saturday was unfortunately unsuccessful.

According to NASA, a hydrogen leak was detected in the supply side of the 8-inch quick disconnect while attempting to transfer fuel to the rocket.

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The hydrogen leak was discovered at about 7 am and multiple different tactics were tried to address the issue.

Launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson and her team tried to plug Saturday’s leak by stopping and restarting the flow of super-cold liquid hydrogen in hopes of removing the gap around a seal in the supply line. They tried that twice, in fact, and also flushed helium through the line. But the leak persisted.

Eventually, engineers told officials that their recommendation was that the launch should be scrubbed. Blackwell-Thompson finally halted the countdown after three to four hours of futile effort, around 11:15 am

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said on hand for the launch, “We will go when its ready. We don’t go until then and especially now on a test flight because we are going to stress test it and test that heat shield and make sure it’s right before we put four humans up on the top of it.”

The administrator added that scrubs are part of the space program. NASA rockets are complicated vehicles, but especially with the SLS as all those systems are working together for the first time.

One of the issues that popped in Monday’s launch attempt was also a hydrogen leak.

“When you are using liquid hydrogen as your propellant, as your fuel. Hydrogen is your smallest molecule, two hydrogen atoms and literally the small size of the molecule it can leak really easily, through tiny cracks,” said Phil Metzger of UCF’s Florida’s Space Institute

So as we push forward with more launch Artemis I launch attempts, NASA engineers might have to deal with even more hydrogen leaks on the SLS.

Another issue that halted the launch on Monday was a sensor reading saying that the engine wasn’t cold enough.

“We had some sensors that didn’t tell us what we thought we would do and we did the right thing by standing down with that uncertainty on Monday, but we have confirmed that we did have good flow through those engines. We know we can chill those engines. We are ready to proceed that way. We’ve analyzed and the teams are ready to support launch attempts on Saturday,” John Blevins, Space Launch System chief engineer, had said earlier in the week.

When the launch does take place, the rocket will launch without astronauts, orbiting the moon before coming back to earth. The flight is paving the way for future launches that will send astronauts to the moon and beyond.

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