On Wednesday, NASA is on track to conduct the Artemis I Cryogenic Demonstration Test

On Wednesday, NASA is on track to conduct the Artemis I Cryogenic Demonstration Test ...

As the launch teams load more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic propellants including liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop the mobile launcher on Monday, August 29, 2022.

Engineers have reviewed the seals that were removed on an interface for the liquid hydrogen fuel line between the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the mobile launcher in the days since the previous launch attempt. They also altered the methods for loading cryogenic, or supercold, propellants into the rocket. A small indentation was discovered by engineers on the eight-inch-diameter liquid hydrogen seal. It may have been a contributing factor to the previous launch attempt.

Artemis teams are now preparing to demonstrate the changes under the same cryogenic conditions as the rocket will experience on launch day. The four main objectives during the demonstration include assessing the repair to address the hydrogen leak, loading propellants into the rocket's tanks using the new procedures, and performing a pre-pressurization test.

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According to recent engineering findings, new cryogenic loading procedures and ground automation will decrease the likelihood of leaks that might be caused by rapid changes in temperature or pressure. NASA teams will initiate, or "kick-start," the flow of liquid hydrogen through the engines to begin conditioning, or chilling them down, for launch.

After both tanks have reached the replenishing stage, a pre-pressurization test will bring the liquid hydrogen tank up to the pressure level it will experience just before launch, while engineers calibrate the settings for conditioning the engines at a higher flow rate, as will be performed during the terminal countdown.

The four RS-25 engines on NASA's Space Launch System rocket produce more than 2 million pounds of thrust. The four RS-25 engines were last fired during the core stage Green Run hot fire test at NASA's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, in March 2021.

The launch director is expected to give a “go” to begin loading cryogenic propellants into the rocket at around 7 a.m. on Wednesday. The test will conclude around 3 p.m. after the teams have completed the requirements and will not proceed into the terminal count phase of the launch countdown. Teams may extend the duration of the test if circumstances warrant it.

During the test, teams will load propellants into both the core stage and the upper stage tanks, and Orion and the SLS boosters will remain unpowered. Meteorologists currently forecast favorable weather for the test with a 15% chance of lightning within 5 nautical miles of the area, which meets the criteria required for the test.

On Wednesday, September 21, NASA Television will broadcast live coverage of the demonstration beginning at 7:15 a.m. EDT (4:15 a.m. PDT) at Launch Pad 39B. The Kennedy Newsroom YouTube channel continues to provide continuous live video of the Artemis I rocket and spacecraft.

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