Teams Confirm No Damage to Flight Hardware, Focus on November for Launch

Teams at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida conducted initial inspections Friday to assess potential impacts from Hurricane Ian. There was no damage to Artemis flight hardware, and facilities are in good shape with only minor water intrusion identified in a few locations. Next, engineers will extend access platforms around the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to prepare for additional inspections and start preparation for the next launch attempt, including retesting the flight termination system.

As teams complete post-storm recovery operations, NASA has determined it will focus Artemis I launch planning efforts on the launch period that opens Nov. 12 and closes Nov. 27. Over the coming days, managers will assess the scope of work to perform while in the VAB and identify a specific date for the next launch attempt. Focusing efforts on the November launch period allows time for employees at Kennedy to address the needs of their families and homes after the storm and for teams to identify additional checkouts needed before returning to the pad for launch.

CAPSTONE Team Continues Work Towards Spacecraft Recovery

The CAPSTONE mission team is continuing to work towards recovery of the spacecraft orientation control. This work includes collecting information from the spacecraft, running simulations, and refining recovery plans. CAPSTONE is power positive – meaning it is generating more power from its solar panels than the spacecraft systems are using – and remains in a stable condition on track to the Moon.

Teams Prepare for Hurricane Arrival, Assess Artemis I Forward Plan

With the Artemis I Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft safety in the Vehicle Assembly Building after rolling back from Launch Pad 39B Monday night, NASA continues to prioritize its employees as Hurricane Ian approaches the Kennedy Space Center area. 

As part of NASA’s hurricane preparedness protocol, a “ride out” team will remain in a safe location at Kennedy throughout the storm to monitor centerwide conditions. After the storm passes, they will conduct an assessment of facilities, property, and equipment. Once it is safe for additional employees to return to Kennedy, engineers will extend platforms to establish access to the rocket and spacecraft.  

Managers will review options on the extent of work that will be conducted in the VAB before returning to the launch pad or identifying the next opportunity for launch. Technicians will swap out batteries on the rocket’s flight termination system and retest the system prior to the next launch attempt. 

NASA’s Moon Rocket and Spacecraft Arrive at Vehicle Assembly Building

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop the mobile launcher as it returns to the Vehicle Assembly Building from Launch Pad 39B, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA made the decision to rollback based on the latest weather predictions associated with Hurricane Ian. NASA’s Artemis I mission is the first integrated test of the agency’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, SLS rocket, and supporting ground systems. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

At approximately 9:15 a.m. EDT, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission were secured inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center after a four-mile journey from Launch Pad 39B that began at 11:21 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26 ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Ian.

After the storm has passed, teams will conduct inspections to determine impacts at the center and establish a forward plan for the next launch attempt, including replacing the core stage flight termination system batteries and retesting the system to ensure it can terminate the flight if necessary for public safety in the event of an emergency during launch.

Artemis I Moon Rocket Departs Launch Pad 39B Ahead of Hurricane Ian

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop the mobile launcher at Launch Pad 39B as teams configure systems for rolling back to the Vehicle Assembly Building, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA made the decision to rollback based on the latest weather predictions associated with Hurricane Ian. NASA’s Artemis I flight test is the first integrated test of the agency’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, SLS rocket, and supporting ground systems. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

At 11:21 p.m. ET Monday, NASA’s Artemis I Moon rocket  left launch pad 39B atop the crawler-transporter and began its 4-mile trek to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Managers decided to roll back based on the latest weather predictions associated with Hurricane Ian not showing improving expected conditions for the Kennedy area. The decision allows time for employees to address the needs of their families and protect the integrated rocket and spacecraft system.

Watch a live stream of the rocket arriving at VAB on the Kennedy Newsroom YouTube channel and check back here for updates.

 

NASA to Roll Artemis I Rocket and Spacecraft Back to VAB Tonight

NASA will roll the Artemis I Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft back to the Vehicle Assembly Building on Monday, Sept. 26. First motion is targeted for 11 p.m. EDT.

Managers met Monday morning and made the decision based on the latest weather predictions associated with Hurricane Ian, after additional data gathered overnight did not show improving expected conditions for the Kennedy Space Center area. The decision allows time for employees to address the needs of their families and protect the integrated rocket and spacecraft system. The time of first motion also is based on the best predicted conditions for rollback to meet weather criteria for the move.

NASA has continued to rely on the most up to date information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Space Force, and the National Hurricane Center throughout its evaluations and continues to closely monitor conditions for the Kennedy area.

NASA continues to provide a live stream of the rocket and spacecraft on the launch pad.

Artemis Cryogenic Demonstration Test Concludes, All Objectives Met 

The launch director has confirmed all objectives have been met for the cryogenic demonstration test, and teams are now proceeding with critical safing activities and preparations for draining the rocket’s tanks. After encountering a hydrogen leak early in the loading process, engineers were able to troubleshoot the issue and proceed with the planned activities.  

The four main objectives for the demonstration included assessing the repair to address the hydrogen leak identified on the previous launch attempt, loading propellants into the rocket’s tanks using new procedures, conducting the kick-start bleed, and performing a pre-pressurization test. 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.  

Teams will evaluate the data from the test, along with weather and other factors, before confirming readiness to proceed into the next launch opportunity. The rocket remains in a safe configuration as teams assess next steps. 

Follow along for updates on of the Artemis I mission. 

CAPSTONE Team Makes Progress Toward Recovery Operation

Over the past week, the CAPSTONE spacecraft was able to improve thermal conditions for the propellant and other critical systems while maintaining positive power generation. The operations team has been performing ground and spacecraft testing in preparation for an attempt to stop CAPSTONE’s spin. This operation would return the spacecraft to normal status and will be attempted when preparations and testing are complete.

Updates will be provided as available.

Liquid Hydrogen in Replenish, Teams Move Ahead with ICPS Loading

The Space Launch System’s core stage liquid hydrogen tank is now full and is being replenished as some of the supercold propellant boils off. Since resuming liquid hydrogen fast fill operations, the rate of the hydrogen leak at the tail service mast umbilical quick disconnect has remained within allowable rates. The core stage liquid oxygen tank also is in the replenish phase.

Teams are pressing ahead with operations to load propellants into the interim cryogenic propulsion stage of the rocket. Once liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen loading on the stage reach the replenish phase, the pre-press test, one of the objectives for today’s demonstration, will occur.

The pre-pressurization test will bring the core stage 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 done during the terminal count on launch day.

Artemis Cryogenic Test: Core Stage LH2 Underway; LOX Fill and Engine Bleed Test Complete

Fast fill continues for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s core stage liquid hydrogen (LH2) tank at a reduced pressure as teams monitor the area where the hydrogen leak was detected. Fast fill is complete for the core stage liquid oxygen (LOX) tank and engineers have completed the engine bleed test, which flows supercold LH2 to the four RS-25 engines, bringing their temperature down to the conditions required for launch.

Follow along with live coverage of the cryogenic demonstration test ahead of the Artemis I mission.