NASA has changed dates for launch opportunities for Artemis 1, the first integrated flight test of the space launch system rocket and the orion spaceship beyond the moon.
According to NASA, the updated dates represent careful consideration of multiple logistical issues, including the added value of having more time to prepare for the test. cryogenic demonstration and, subsequently, more time to prepare for launch. The dates also allow those responsible make sure teams rest enough and replenish cryogenic propellant supplies.
Over the weekend, Artemis 1 teams completed the repair work in the area of a hydrogen leak, reconnecting the rocket-side and ground-side plates on the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line quick disconnect where two seals were replaced last week.
This week, the teams will test in environmental conditions to ensure there is a tight bond between the two plates before retesting during the cryogenic tank demonstration and beginning preparations for testing.
During the demonstration, launch controllers will load supercold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen into the SLS rocket’s cryogenic propulsion core stage and intermediate stage. The demonstration will allow teams to confirm that the hydrogen leak has been repaired, evaluate updated propellant loading procedures designed to reduce thermal and pressure-related stress on the system, perform a fast start purge test, and evaluate the pre-pressurization procedures.
On September 27, the 70-minute launch window opens at 16:37 UTC (18:37 peninsular time); landing the round-trip mission to lunar orbit on November 5. If it occurs on October 2, the 109-minute launch window opens at 19:52 UTC (21:52 on the Peninsula), returning to Earth on November 11.