NASA Delays SLS Cryogenic Tanking Test to Sept. 21 and Artemis 1 Moon Rocket Launch to NET Late September: Photos

NASA Delays SLS Cryogenic Tanking Test to Sept. 21 and Artemis 1 Moon Rocket Launch to NET Late September: Photos
NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket integrated with the Orion spacecraft atop Launch Complex 39B, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is seen venting liquid oxygen during 2nd launch attempt of the unpiloted Artemis 1 lunar mission on Sept. 3, 2022 that was ultimately scrubbed due to a hydrogen fuel leak. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – NASA says technicians have completed repairs to the leaking hydrogen fuel line on the mammoth Artemis 1 Moon rocket out at launch pad 39B which in turn will allow the team to move forward and carry out a full tanking demonstration test of super cold cryogenics to verify whether the dangerous leak has actually been fixed out at the pad under cryogenic conditions, rather than doing that work back inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB).

NASA announced the Artemis 1 demonstration has been delayed from Sept. 17 and is rescheduled to start at 7:15 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

If the test goes well and if NASA receives a waiver on the battery lifetime on the Flight Termination System (FTS) batteries, then the agency holds out hope for another launch attempt in late September/early October  – but that’s all TBD!

During the 2nd launch attempt a hydrogen leak was discovered in an 8 inch quick disconnect (QD) fitting – forcing the second Artemis 1 scrub on Saturday Sept. 3.

The large hydrogen leak on Sept. 3 was in a different QD fitting spot and the concentration was much larger compared to the prior one on Aug. 29.

The tanking test will be carried live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

That’s a four day delay from the prior tanking test date of Sept. 17 when it was determined that technicians needed additional time to carry out the repairs and verify the work was satisfactorily completed and to ready the rocket for the complex and critical test

“The demonstration test will allow teams to confirm the repair to a hydrogen leak seen during an early September Artemis I launch attempt, evaluate updated propellant loading procedures, and conduct additional evaluations. The demonstration will conclude when the objectives for the test have been met,” NASA announced.

NASA plans to hold a media briefing on Monday, Sept. 19 at 11:30 a.m. EDT to preview the tanking test.

Audio of the media call will stream live on the agency’s website at:

https://www.nasa.gov/live

Technicians replaced seals in both the 8 inch and 4 inch quick disconnects on the leaking liquid hydrogen fuel feed and bleed line at a mechanical interface connection between the ground side and flight side umbilical plates meet and where the hydrogen lines feed into the base of the SLS rockets core stage located at the Tail Service Mast Umbilical (TSMU) on top of the mobile launcher.

See a closeup of the TSMU and hydrogen fuel line connected to the bottom of the SLS rocket in our photo taken by Ken Kremer for Space UpClose.

Up Close view of the tail service mast umbilical (TSMU) connected to the base of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on Launch Complex 39B, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center where the hydrogen fuel leak occurred during 2nd launch attempt of the unpiloted Artemis 1 lunar mission on Sept. 3, 2022 that was ultimately scrubbed due to a hydrogen fuel leak. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

During the tanking demo test engineers and technician will fully load both the SLS core stage and ICPS upper stage with both liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid hydrogen propellants – approximately some 750,000 gallons.

The tanking demonstration test is being run to verify whether the QD seat replacement and repair was effective in stopping the hydrogen leak in both hydrogen fuel lines.

Leaking hydrogen can only be detected with confidence at cryogenic temperatures during propellant loading operations – either during an actual launch attempt or a tanking test of some sort.

“Artemis I teams completed repair work to the area of a hydrogen leak, reconnecting the ground- and rocket-side plates on the quick disconnect for the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line where two seals were replaced last week. This week, teams will conduct tests at ambient conditions to ensure there is a tight bond between the two plates before testing again during the cryogenic tanking demonstration, and begin preparations for the test. During the demonstration, launch controllers will load supercold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen into the core stage and interim cryogenic propulsion stage of the SLS rocket. The demonstration will allow teams to confirm the hydrogen leak has been repaired, evaluate updated propellant loading procedures designed to reduce thermal and pressure-related stress on the system, conduct a kick-start bleed test, and evaluate pre-pressurization procedures” NASA officials said.

 

If all goes well with the Sept. 21` cryogenic tanking test it could set up late September for the next Artemis 1 launch attempt from Florida’s Space Coast on Sept 27.

A possible back-up date is available on Oct. 2.

Specific times for the potential launch opportunities are as follows:

Sept 27: 70-minute launch window opens at 11:37 a.m. EDT; landing on Nov. 5

Under review – Oct. 2: 109-minute launch window opens at 2:52 p.m.; landing on Nov. 11.

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket integrated with the Orion spacecraft atop Launch Complex 39B, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is seen during 2nd launch attempt of the unpiloted Artemis 1 lunar mission on Sept. 3, 2022 that was ultimately scrubbed due to a hydrogen fuel leak. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

However those tentative pair of launch dates are completely contingent on two factors: a successful cryo tanking test and NASA obtaining a waiver to significantly extend the lifetime of the Flight Termination System (FTS) batteries from the U.S. Space Force – and obtaining that FTS waiver is a very big IF!

The FTS batteries must function, and FTS would be activated to destroy the rocket in case it veers off course and threatens populated areas near the KSC launch site.

All rockets are equipped with an FTS system to protect the public and property from grievous harm and destruction.

Currently the FTS batteries are certified for only 25 days – recently raised up from 20 days – and the SLS/Orion stack must be rolled back to the VAB to retest and recharge them. That retest and recharge work can’t be done out at the pad.

However NASA has now requested a waiver and is seeking a rather long extension of FTS battery lifetime of at least a few weeks to avoid the necessity of a rollback to the VAB  for the work.

NASA’s Jim Free declined to say how long of a waiver they requested from the Space Force.

But to enable late September launch dates the waiver must extend the FTS lifetime life time by several weeks at a minimum – roughly doubling the certified lifetime. That’s truly a significant change

The Space Force is still considering NASA’s waiver request.

“NASA is continuing to respect the Eastern Range’s process for review of the agency’s request for an extension of the current testing requirement for the flight termination system and is providing additional information and data as needed. In parallel, the agency is continuing preparations for the cryogenic demonstration test and potential launch opportunities, should the request be approved,” NASA reported.

 

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen up close atop Launch Complex 39B, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center after rollout on Aug, 16, 2022 from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Launch on the unpiloted Artemis 1 lunar mission is slated for Sept. 3, 2022. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

 

The Space UpClose team of Ken Kremer and Jean Wright attended and witnessed both SLS/Orion launch attempts and the rollouts and rollbacks from KSC Press Site

Enjoy our photos of SLS/Orion launch attempts at pad 39B and rolling out and back between the VAB and pad 39B.

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen up close atop Launch Complex 39B, for the first time at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, April 21, 2022 after first ever rollout from the VAB on March 17 for launch on the unpiloted Artemis 1 lunar mission NET Summer 2022. Credit: Jean Wright/spaceupclose.com

Read my earlier detailed stories about the launch attempts rollout, rollback and repairs illustrated with our photos

Watch Ken’s commentary about  Project Artemis, Capstone, NASA SLS WDR demo test, NASA SpaceX Cargo Dragon, JWST, SpaceX missions including NASA Crew-3 and Crew 4, AX-1, Nilesat 301, Transporter-5, Starlink, Boeing Starliner, and NASA TROPICS  1.

Sep 10/11: Interview with Fox 35 Orlando about NASA repairing both QD seals to fix leaking hydrogen in the TSMU, conduct a full tanking test to verify no H2 leaks. + NASA managers have surprisingly requested a waiver to extend the certified lifetime of the FTS batteries & avoid rollback to VAB for retesting – in the middle of the launch campaign-from US Space Force. FTS would destroy a rocket if it goes off course

https://www.fox35orlando.com/news/nasa-fixes-artemis-leaks-hopes-for-late-september-launch

Sep 9: WKMG CBS 6 Orlando features my commentary re new NASA plan to get #Artemis1 Moon rocket ready for next launch attempt as soon as Sep 23 or 27. Teams will repair & replace leaky hydrogen seals in the TSMU, conduct a full tanking test to verify no H2 leaks. + NASA managers have surprisingly requested a waiver to extend the certified lifetime of the FTS batteries & avoid rollback to VAB for retesting – in the middle of the launch campaign-from US Space Force. FTS would destroy a rocket if it goes off course

https://www.clickorlando.com/news/space-news/2022/09/09/new-artemis-i-launch-dates-contingent-on-nasa-avoiding-rocket-rollback/

Sep 6:  Watch my Artemis1 comments at WFTV ABC 9 Orlando on whats ahead for fixing the hydrogen leak and rollback to VAB – with next launch attempt pad 39B NET late Sept. at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

https://www.wftv.com/news/video-scrubbed-artemis-i-launch-whats-next/c0a10962-4aef-4090-8ad6-5f07e5c124ab/

Sep 5/6: My commentary at WKMG CBS 6 Orlando about what are the next steps for NASA to get #Artemis1 ready for next launch attempt and when that might be after 2 scrubbed attempts

https://www.clickorlando.com/news/space-news/2022/09/05/when-could-artemis-attempt-a-launch-next-here-are-the-possible-openings/

Sept. 4: Interview on BBC Breakfast about 2nd Artemis 1 scrub and whats ahead with repairs and launch opportunities:

https://youtu.be/Fhr__Df0-y8

 

Aug 31: Interview on BBC Breakfast about Artemis 1 scrub and whats ahead with launch reset to Sep 3

https://youtu.be/WsYXMJAwLPE

Aug 31:  Interview on BBC 5 Live Radio about Artemis 1 scrub and whats ahead with launch reset to Sep 3

Starts at about the 55 minute point

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m001bkc1

Aug 30:  Interview on BBC Breakfast about Artemis 1 scrub and whats ahead:

https://youtu.be/0bLhrascB0Q

Aug 30:  Interview on WFTV Channel 9 ABC Orlando about Artemis 1 scrub and whats ahead :

https://www.wftv.com/news/video-nasa-crews-evaluating-artemis-1-scrubbed-launch-attempt/05348583-b9be-440f-afd9-9cb52cfa894a/

Aug 30: 3 different anchor and reporter interviews on Fox 35 Orlando about Artemis 1 scrub and whats ahead:

“Ken Kremer, research scientist and founder/managing editor of Space UpClose, discusses the upcoming launch of Artemis l after being scrubbed on Monday.”

https://www.fox35orlando.com/video/1111720

Aug 29: Two Prescrub interviews on BBC World TV and BBC TV about Artemis 1 launch attempt on Aug 29

 

Aug 29:  Pre and Post Artemis 1 scrub interviews on NewsNation

https://www.newsnationnow.com/space/nasa-artemis-1-launch/

Aug 29:  Pre and Post scrub interviews on Fox 35 Orlando

Aug 29: Post scrub interview on WKMG CBS 6 Orlando:

Aug 28: Preview to Artemis 1 launch my live half hour interview on WKMG CBS 6 Orlando with news anchor Justin Warmoth on ‘The Weekly’:

https://www.clickorlando.com/news/local/2022/08/29/little-margin-for-error-nasa-faces-pressure-over-artemis-mission/

Aug 27: Interview on WFTV Channel 9 ABC Orlando about Artemis 1

https://www.wftv.com/news/local/brevard-county/space-coast-is-getting-ready-artemis-i-launch-this-weekend/CNZ2AIOJYRC4XMGC7Y2HIBAYVU/

 

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Artemis, SpaceX missions, SLS, Orion and NASA missions, SpaceX Crew and Cargo Dragons, SpaceX Axiom-1, JWST, IXPE, DART, Lucy Asteroid mission, GOES, SpaceX Starlink, Commercial Crew and Starliner and Crew Dragon, Blue Origin and Space Tourism, and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2 & 3 & 4, ISS, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, NRO spysats and national security missions and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events

Please consider supporting Ken’s work by purchasing his photos and/or donating at Patreon

https://www.patreon.com/kenkremer

Upcoming and recent space events and talks by Ken Kremer & Jean Wright

Sep 2, 4, 9,10,13, 16, 24  from 7 to 9 PM Quality Inn, Titusville, FL:  Join Ken and Jean for Artemis 1 outreach. ask us anything. plus display our photos and space apparel items for sale

Ken’s space/rocket photos & Jean’s  custom sewn space apparel and space items for sale to support our ad free space news website: SpaceUpClose.com

Aug 11: Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, St Johnsbury, VT

https://www.fairbanksmuseum.org/blog/eyewitness-to-nasa/

“Eyewitness to NASA Human and Robotic Explorers”

Aug 19: McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, Concord, NH

https://www.starhop.com/special-programs

“Sew Sister to the Stars: How the Humble Art of Sewing Transformed the World of Flight”

Contact us if you wish to meet, attend a talk or schedule a talk

Ken’s space/rocket photos & Jean’s  custom sewn space apparel and space items for sale to support our ad free space news website: SpaceUpClose.com

 

Two rockets simultaneously vertical at sister launch pads 39B & A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA SLS for Artemis 1 lunar mission at center and SpaceX Falcon 9 for Starlink commercial internet satellite mission at right plus SpaceX Super Heavy Starship launch tower under construction at far leftat pad 39A – as seen on September 10, 2022 from Canaveral National Seashore, Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

 

Ken Kremer and Jean Wright of Space UpClose reporting about NASA’s unpiloted Artemis 1 lunar test flight mission from Launch Complex 39B, at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

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Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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