NASA Successfully Completes Critical Cryogenic Tanking Test for Artemis 1 Moon Rocket: Photos

NASA Successfully Completes Critical Cryogenic Tanking Test for Artemis 1 Moon Rocket: Photos
NASA’s Artemis 1 moon rocket as seen during cryogenic demonstration tanking test conducted on Sept. 21, 2022 Launch Complex 39B, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Liquid oxygen (LOX) is venting from the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket integrated with the Orion spacecraft atop. Next launch attempt is NET Sept. 27. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – NASA successfully completed the critical cryogenic tanking test for the Artemis 1 Moon rocket on Wednesday, Sept. 21, after teams encountered another significant hydrogen leak near the start of the loading process engineers and then effectively resolved them in a timely manner at Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.

“All objectives for the Artemis I cryogenic demonstration have been met,” NASA declared Wednesday afternoon soon after the conclusion of the test Wednesday afternoon at KSC.

The Artemis 1 launch team was able to fully fuel and load both stages of the Space Launch System (SLS) mega moon rocket with more than 750,000 gallons of super cold liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LOX) cryogenic propellants into all four fuel tanks on the core stage and upper stage.

A definitive new launch date has not been set but could take place as soon as Sept. 27 – pending a full evaluation of the results, inspections of the rocket and consideration of weather as multiple tropical systems lurk in the Atlantic.

The cryo loading test was run to verify whether repairs carried out at the pad had actually fixed the dangerous hydrogen leak that scrubbed the prior launch attempt on Sept. 3 rather than doing that work after rolling the integrated SLS and Orion stack back inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB).

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

The team modified the fuel loading procedures into a ‘kinder, gentler’ approach to minimize temperate and pressure spikes to the propellant loading lines and 4 inch and 8 inch QD seal in the LH2 fill and drain line and bleed line – which was projected to add at least 30 minutes to the overall propl loading sequence.

The cryo test started out problematically suffering another significant hydrogen leak up to 7% concentration – nearly twice the allowable limit of 4% – soon after the start of LH2 fast fill mode. But the team worked to solve the issue successfully, reseat a leaky seal in the 8 inch quick disconnect in the tail service mast umbilical (TSMU) and implement modified loading procedures – dubbed  ‘kinder & gentler’ by the team.

“After encountering a hydrogen leak early in the loading process, engineers were able to troubleshoot the issue and proceed with the planned activities,” NASA said.

NASA’s Artemis 1 moon rocket as seen during cryogenic demonstration tanking test conducted on Sept. 21, 2022 Launch Complex 39B, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Liquid oxygen (LOX) is venting from the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket integrated with the Orion spacecraft atop. Next launch attempt is NET Sept. 27. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

The test began with loading at about 730 a.m. EDT and finished around 4 p.m.

NASA was careful not to announce and commit to a new launch date, tentatively slated as no earlier than NET Sept. 27 until the entire launch, management and contractor teams complete extensive evaluations of all the data and issues encountered and troubleshooted Wednesday.

 

“Based on data from the test, teams are fine-tuning procedures for the next launch opportunity, targeted for no earlier than Sept. 27.  The rocket remains in a safe and flight-ready configuration at the launch pad.”

The test was carried live on NASA TV.

“The test went really well. We wanted to learn, to evaluate. All of the objectives that we set out to do, we were able to accomplish. I am extremely encouraged by the test today. I couldn’t be more proud of the team,” said Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Artemis I Launch Director, in a post-test interview on NASA TV

The launch team went into the cryo demo test with four main objectives.

“The four main objectives met during the demonstration were assessing the repair to address the hydrogen leak identified on the previous launch attempt, loading propellants into the rocket’s tanks using new procedures to transition changes in temperature and pressure more slowly to reduce the likelihood of leaks, conducting the kick-start bleed, and performing a pre-pressurization test,” said NASA.

“The new cryogenic loading procedures and ground automation were designed to transition temperature and pressures slowly during tanking to reduce the likelihood of leaks that could be caused by rapid changes in temperature or pressure.”

“After encountering the leak early in the operation, teams further reduced loading pressures to troubleshoot the issue and proceed with the demonstration test. The pre-pressurization test enabled engineers to calibrate the settings used for conditioning the engines during the terminal count and validate timelines before launch day to reduce schedule risk during the countdown on launch day.”

NASA’s Artemis 1 moon rocket as seen during cryogenic demonstration tanking test conducted on Sept. 21, 2022 Launch Complex 39B, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Liquid oxygen (LOX) is venting from the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket integrated with the Orion spacecraft atop. Next launch attempt is NET Sept. 27. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

NASA will hold a media press teleconference at 12:30 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23, to discuss the cryogenic demonstration test conducted Wednesday, Sept. 21, and discuss plans for the next Artemis I launch attempt.

Audio of the call will livestream on the agency’s website at:

https://www.nasa.gov/live

I observed the cryo demo test from KSC press site. Enjoy my photos taken for Space UpClose.

 

NASA’s Artemis 1 moon rocket as seen during cryogenic demonstration tanking test conducted on Sept. 21, 2022 Launch Complex 39B, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Liquid oxygen (LOX) is venting from the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket integrated with the Orion spacecraft atop with the Countdown Clock in the foreground. Next launch attempt is NET Sept. 27. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

 

NASA’s Artemis 1 moon rocket as seen during cryogenic demonstration tanking test conducted on Sept. 21, 2022 Launch Complex 39B, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Liquid oxygen (LOX) is venting from the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket integrated with the Orion spacecraft atop with the Countdown Clock in the foreground. Next launch attempt is NET Sept. 27. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose

Managers waved off two previous launch attempts, one on Aug. 29 due to a faulty temperature sensor, and one on Sept. 3 due to a liquid hydrogen leak at an interface between the rocket and mobile launcher.

Technicians had 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.

NASA’s Artemis 1 moon rocket as seen during cryogenic demonstration tanking test conducted on Sept. 21, 2022 Launch Complex 39B, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Liquid oxygen (LOX) is venting from the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket integrated with the Orion spacecraft atop with the Countdown Clock in the foreground. Next launch attempt is NET Sept. 27. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

 

The next potential Artemis 1 launch attempt from Florida’s Space Coast is 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.

However those tentative pair of launch dates were completely contingent on two factors: the now successful cryo tanking test and NASA still awaiting on 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!

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft atop Launch Complex 39B, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Launch on the unpiloted Artemis 1 lunar mission is slated for NET Sept. 27, 2022. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

Artemis 1 will be uncrewed and is the first test flight in NASA’s Project Artemis program to return humans to the Moon for the first time in five decades.

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.

 

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

 

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 21/22:  Watch my Artemis1 comments at WFTV ABC 9 Orlando about NASA’s successfully cryogenic tanking test for Artemis 1 moon rocket and whats ahead

https://www.wftv.com/news/local/brevard-county/nasa-conducting-critical-test-repairs-made-mega-moon-rocket/HSWI7P55LNEJNNSN5ZQ75XQHSI/

Sep 21/22:  Interview with Fox 35 Orlando about NASA’s successfully cryogenic tanking test for Artemis 1 moon rocket and whats ahead

Sep 21:  Interview with Fox News MMR local station about NASA’s successfully cryogenic tanking test for Artemis 1 moon rocket and whats ahead

https://twitter.com/FoxNewsMMR/status/1572747493208915969

Sep 21:  Interview with NEWSY about NASA’s plan to conduct a cryogenic tanking test of both stages of Artemis1 SLS Moon rocket on Sep 21 to verify whether repairs to the hydrogen lines and QD seals have stopped the dangerous leaks

Sep 19/20: Interview with Fox 35 Orlando about NASA’s plan to conduct a cryogenic tanking test of both stages of Artemis1 SLS Moon rocket on Sep 21 to verify whether repairs to the hydrogen lines and QD seals have stopped the dangerous leaks

Video: https://www.fox35orlando.com/video/1119798

Sep 12/13:  Interview with Fox 35 Orlando re today’s failed rocket launch by Blue Origin in which the booster failed but the capsule safely aborted. No crew members aboard only science experiments, This will halt #BlueOrigin flights and there will be a full FAA investigation with corrective actions before they can resume

Video: https://www.fox35orlando.com/video/1116991

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 what’s 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

Sep 3: Live Interview on BBC 5 Live Radio about Artemis 1 before 2nd launch attempt

audio upcoming soon

Sep 3: Live and taped interviews on Fox 35 about 2nd Artemis 1 launch attempt and scrub

https://www.fox35orlando.com/video/1113605

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/

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket integrated with the Orion spacecraft atop the crawler-transporter approaches the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) on July 2, 2022, after an approximately 10 hour long journey and rollback from atop Launch Complex 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After repairs and refurbishments NASA is targeting unpiloted Artemis 1 lunar mission launch no earlier than NET 29 August 2022. Credit: Ken Kremer/spaceupclose.com

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

 

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
Jean Wright and Ken Kremer of Space UpClose pose with NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket integrated with the Orion spacecraft on July 2, 2022 during rollback from pad 39B to the VAB. 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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