NASA SLS lunar missile has been refueled — the launch could take place as early as 27 September

NASA SLS lunar missile has been refueled — the launch could take place as early as 27 September

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration is one step closer to conducting the first orbital flight of an oversized two-stage Space Launch System rocket with Orion as part of the Artemis I mission. This week, the launch vehicle successfully passed a critical fuel refuelling test.

The previous attempt to launch the SLS rocket into space failed on 3 September, and during the refuelling of the rocket tanks a few hours before the launch, NASA engineers detected a leak of liquid hydrogen, and they made several attempts to solve the problem on site, but failed to do so, and the launch of the SLS system had to be delayed.

According to available data, since then, fast-fix sealers have been replaced at the main level of SLS, which are used to connect the rocket to the fuel line. 9 September has been completed, followed by a fuel test tank refuelling, which was conducted in the past environment at the 39B launch site of the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, where the SLS rocket is currently located.

Although the fuel tank test was considered to have been successful, it did not go smoothly. A leak of liquid hydrogen was again detected during tank filling. This time, however, the problem was solved on the ground by heating the fast-discharge connection, which made it "slower" and reduced the rate of leakage to an acceptable level. Before that, another fuel leak was detected, but it was not so significant.

NASA is currently exploring the possibility of launching a SLS missile on 27 September, and a backup date is being considered on 2 October. However, the official date of the upcoming launch has not yet been approved. The solution to the fuel system problem may not be sufficient. The new dates require a re-certification of the emergency flight interruption system. Usually, the authorization was granted for 25 days after the installation of the emergency interruption system ' s power batteries and pre-flight testing. The work can only be performed in the assembly shop. The last time, the SLS flight interruption system for the Artemis I mission was tested and recognized as valid on 14 or 15 August. NASA requested an extension of the certification deadline.

As part of the Artemis I mission, the SLS missile is to launch into outer space the Orion, which will automatically fly around the Moon and return to Earth. If this phase is successful, a group of astronauts will fly around the Moon on Orion. According to an approved plan, the launch of the Artemis 2 mission will take place in 2024. The astronauts will be landing on the surface of our planet ' s satellite earlier than 2025 as part of the Artemis 3 mission.