Teams Monitoring Weather While Protecting Option for Artemis I Launch  

NASA is monitoring the forecast associated with the formation of a tropical depression in the Caribbean Sea while in parallel continuing to prepare for a potential launch opportunity on Tuesday, Sept. 27 during a 70-minute window that opens at 11:37 a.m. EDT.  

Managers are initiating activities on a non-interference basis to enable an accelerated timeline for rolling back to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to protect the rocket, should it be necessary. Discussions about whether to remain at the launch pad or roll back to the VAB are on-going and based on the latest forecast predictions. NASA will make a decision on whether to remain at the launch pad or roll back using incremental protocols to take interim steps necessary to protect people and hardware with a final decision anticipated no later than Saturday. The step-wise decision making process over the next day lets the agency protect its employees by completing a safe roll in time for them to address the needs of their families, while allowing flexibility to hold the launch window should weather predictions improve.  

NASA is grateful to its agency partners at NOAA, United State Space Force and the National Hurricane Center for giving us the highest quality products to protect our nation’s flight test to return us to the Moon. 

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.

ICPS Liquid Hydrogen in Replenish, Teams Moving Ahead with Pre-Press Test

Launch controllers have reached the replenish phase of liquid hydrogen loading operations for the interim cryogenic propulsion stage of the Space Launch System rocket and are continuing operations to load liquid oxygen into the upper stage. Teams are moving into operations to conduct a pre-pressurization test, in which engineers 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. The pre-pressurization test is expected to last about an hour.

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.

Artemis Cryogenic Test: Core Stage LOX Fast Fill Underway, Proceeding Toward LH2 Slow Fill

Fast fill is underway for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s core stage liquid oxygen (LOX) tank. Next, teams will transition from slow fill to fast fill for the liquid hydrogen (LH2) tank and initiate, or “kick start,” the engine bleed, which will begin flowing supercold LH2 to start cooling the four RS-25 engines down to the temperature conditions required for launch.

Follow along with live coverage and with the countdown milestones for the cryogenic demonstration test ahead of the Artemis I mission.