- NASA targets to launch the next Artemis 1 on 23rd September.
- But, before that, NASA needs to fix a hydrogen leak, secure a critical safety system waiver and ace a fueling test.
NASA must fix a hydrogen leak, secure a critical safety system waiver, ace a fueling test to launch this month.
The next attempt of NASA to launch its new mega-rocket on a test flight to the moon could lift off by 23rd September, but only if the agency fixes a leak and receives an analytical waiver from the US Space Force.
Jim Free, NASA’s associate administrator for exploration systems development, said on 8th September that NASA’s Artemis 1 moon mission launch, the debut of its giant Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, could lift off on 23rd or 27th September.
The dates of launch depend on several requirements, including NASA securing a waiver to extend the time required to check batteries on the SLS’ flight termination system (FTS), which is designed to demolish the rocket if it veers off course during launch.
The US Space Force, which oversees the Eastern Range used for Florida rocket launches, needs NASA to test the FTS every 25 days, a process that requires the 322-foot-tall rocket to leave the launch pad and revoke to its hangar. Extending that time frame could allow NASA to avoid weeks of extra delay that would push the Artemis 1 launch into October.
Free said that this week, Artemis 1 mission managers submitted a waiver request to the Eastern Range. He said in a teleconference that they have been very understanding and gracious of what they are trying to do after meeting several times.
Free did not disclose how long of an extension NASA is seeking. Already, the agency had secured one such FTS waiver, shifting the limit from 20 to 25 days.
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