The Artemis 1 rocket will have its third launch attempt on Tuesday, September 27, but a Tropical Storm Nine could change that.
The 70-minute launch window opens at 12:37 pm ET and the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft remain on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Concerns about the formation of the climate system in the Caribbean put weather conditions at just 20% favorable for a launch.
The tropical storm’s current path puts the storm on track to impact Cuba and Florida early next week.
Given the uncertainty in the storm’s trail, intensity and time of arrival, the Artemis team will use the latest data to inform its decision, said Mike Bolger, manager of NASA’s Exploration Earth Systems Program.
Team Artemis is closely monitoring the weather and will make a decision on Saturday. “Deep tropical moisture will spread through the Spaceport on Tuesday, with extensive cloud cover and scattered rain likely during the launch window,” according to a forecast released by the US Space Force on Friday.
Launch restrictions require the Artemis 1 mission not to fly through any fallout. Launch restrictions are designed to prevent natural and rocket-powered lightning strikes from in-flight rockets, which could cause damage to the rocket and endanger public safety, according to the Space Force.
Lightning fired by these vehicles forms when a large rocket flies through a strong enough atmospheric electric field, so a cloud that isn’t producing natural lightning can still cause lightning bolts fired by the ships, according to the Space Force.
If the rocket stack needs to be reverted to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center, the process could take several days.
The rocket stack can remain on the platform and withstand winds of up to 136 km/h. If the pile needs to go back inside the building, it can handle sustained winds of less than 74 km/h, Bolger said.
Evaluating crucial data
Meanwhile, the Artemis team is encouraged after “a really successful tank test” and “the rocket looks good for upcoming launch attempts,” said John Blevins, chief engineer for the SLS at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. , Alabama.
The crucial lunar megarocket fueling test achieved all of its objectives on Wednesday, despite two separate hydrogen leaks that took place.
The purpose of the cryogenic demonstration was to test replaced seals and use updated, “softer” loading procedures of the supercold propellant that the rocket would experience on launch day.
NASA engineers detected a leak of liquid hydrogen during the test that had “the same signature” as a leak that prevented the launch attempt on September 3. However, their troubleshooting efforts allowed the team to manage the leak.
The team was able to completely fill the main stage with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.
They also completed an engine bleed test, which conditions all four engines and reduces their temperature before launch.
(The mission team scrapped Artemis 1’s first launch attempt on August 29 in large part due to an issue with a faulty sensor that occurred during the bleed.)
A hydrogen leak detected in the 4-inch quick-disconnect line to the engine bleed exceeded the 4% threshold during a pre-pressurization test. This quick-disconnect line carries the liquid hydrogen out of the engines after it passes through the engines and cools them down. But the leakage rate decreased on its own.
Additionally, the Artemis team received Space Force approval for the launch attempt on September 27 and a backup date of October 2.
The Space Force oversees all rocket launches from the east coast of the United States, including the NASA launch site in Florida, and this area is known as the Eastern Range. Range officers are tasked with ensuring that there is no risk to persons or property with any launch attempt.
After receiving detailed data from NASA, the Space Force issued a waiver for launch dates.
The inaugural mission of the Artemis program will kick off a phase of NASA’s space exploration that aims to land diverse crews of astronauts in previously unexplored regions of the Moon — on the Artemis 2 and Artemis 3 missions, scheduled for 2024 and 2025, respectively — and eventually, deliver manned missions to Mars.
Source: CNN Brasil