Science

NASA fuels Artemis rocket for third attempt to launch to Moon

After repeated fuel leaks, two storms and a pair of launch delays, engineers have begun refueling NASA’s $4.1 billion Space Launch System rocket. third launch attempt Wednesday early. Artemis 1 The launch will kick off a long-awaited first flight to send an unmanned Orion capsule to orbit the Moon.

The two-hour launch window opens at 1:04 a.m. EST.

Contributed to the reduction of pressure spikes by using a slower, so-called “kindler, gentler” fueling process first leakThe launch team began loading 730,000 gallons of ultra-cold liquid oxygen and hydrogen fuel to the SLS core stage at 3:55 p.m. EST.

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Remote cameras set up by news organizations near Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center to document the Space Launch System rocket’s anticipated ascent into space are kicking off the long-awaited Artemis 1 Moon mission.

NASA


Engineers were optimistic that the new procedures would ensure a smooth transition from slow to “fast fill”, when the quick-disconnect umbilical seal at the base of the rocket’s core stage caused the rapid ramp-up in pressure during the first refueling attempts. I used to have a leak.

“We’re more confident than ever in our loading procedures and how to do it in a way that puts the least amount of stress on the seals,” said Jeremy Parsons, deputy manager of Exploration Ground Systems at Kennedy Space Center. ,

“We’re allowed to have a brief momentary surge as we increase the pressure, because … it will only be for a short period of time. And that’s really the worst we saw during the (most recent) tanking test. So right now in Feeling great about going.”


Artemis: America’s New Moonshot | CBS Report

21:51

Assuming that the six-hour refueling process continues without major interruptions—still a big deal for a delayed rocket—the 322-foot-tall SLS’s four hydrogen-fueled main engines fired Wednesday morning at 1: Will ignite and choke at 04. seconds later by the ignition of two advanced shuttle-legacy solid-fuel boosters.

At that point, computer commands will be sent to detonate four large explosive bolts at the base of each booster, freeing the 5.7 million-pound SLS to soar atop its 8.8 million pounds of thrust, turning night into day as it soars across the sky. roars towards. Slight northeast trajectory.

Rapidly accelerating due to reduced propellant consumption and reduced weight, the SLS was expected to accelerate faster than sound one minute after liftoff. A minute after that, the two strap-on boosters were expected to burn out and collapse, leaving the four engines powering the core stage to continue the ascent into space.

Eight minutes after liftoff, the flight plan inclined the SLS second stage and the attached Orion capsule 34° to the equator to separate them from the core stage in an initial elliptical orbit. Meanwhile, the core stage will be released to fall back into the atmosphere, breaking up over an unexploited section of the Indian Ocean.

The single engine powering the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, or ICPS, required two critical “burns”: one to raise the low point of the initial orbit and the other to propel Orion out of Earth’s gravitational clutch and onto the Moon. For. The 18-minute-long trans-lunar injection, or TLI, burn was expected to occur approximately 90 minutes after launch.

The Orion capsule was expected to separate from the ICPS about two hours after launch, traveling to the moon on Monday for a 60-mile-high flyby, using lunar gravity to propel it into a distant orbit that would take it farther from Earth . Human rated spacecraft.

The Artemis 1 mission is the first in a series of SLS/Orion flights that aim to establish a sustained presence on and around the Moon with a lunar space station called the Gateway and periodic landings near the south pole where the cold is permanently frozen. Snow can accumulate. Shady Pits.

Astronauts of the future may be able to “mine” that ice if it exists and is accessible, converting it into air, water and even rocket fuel to reduce the cost of deep space exploration. Could

More generally, Artemis astronauts will conduct extended exploration and research to learn more about the origin and evolution of the Moon and test the necessary hardware and procedures before sending astronauts to Mars.

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Oxygen and hydrogen fuel lines enter the Space Launch System rocket’s core stage through retractable umbilicals, which extend from protective housings known as tail service masts (left). Leaking seals in the quick-disconnect fittings where the umbilical cord is attached to the core stage triggered several delays during rocket testing. Engineers were optimistic revised fueling procedures would prevent the problematic leak during Wednesday’s refueling.

NASA


The Artemis 1 mission aims to put the Orion spacecraft through its paces while testing its solar power, propulsion, navigation and life support systems before returning to Earth on December 11 and re-entering the atmosphere at 25,000 miles per hour. To come who will be subject to it. Protective heat shield for a hellish 5,000 degrees.

Testing and confirming the heat shield can protect astronauts returning from deep space is the No. 1 priority of the Artemis 1 mission.

If all goes well with Artemis 1, NASA plans to launch a second SLS rocket in late 2024 that will orbit the Moon before landing the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface near the south pole. Looping to the side will boost the four astronauts onto a free-return trajectory. In Artemis 3 Mission.

That flight, targeted for launch in the 2025-26 timeframe, depends on NASA preparing new spacesuits for moonwalkers and a lander being built by SpaceX based on the company’s reusable Starship rocket design.

SpaceX is working on the lander under a $2.9 billion contract with NASA, but the company has provided little in the way of details or updates and it is not yet known whether NASA and the California rocket maker will actually be taking Artemis 3 to the lunar surface. When will be ready for landing mission. ,

But if the Artemis 1 test flight is successful, NASA may be examining its need for a super-heavy-lift rocket to get the initial missions off the ground and onto the Moon.

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