At approximately 11:45 a.m. today, a fire alarm was triggered in the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The notification came when an arc flash event occurred at a connector on an electrical panel in High Bay 3. A spark landed on a rope marking the boundary of the work area. The rope began to smolder, workers pulled the alarm, and employees evacuated the building safely.
The incident occurred on the third floor of F-tower at the Mobile Launcher power connection. Technicians shut down power to the panel, and the center’s emergency responders declared the VAB safe for employees to return to work. There were no reported injuries, and the Artemis I rocket and spacecraft were not at risk.
The Artemis I vehicle and mobile launcher entered High Bay 3 earlier this morning after rolling back from Launch Complex 39B in advance of Hurricane Ian, which is expected to bring sustained tropical storm force winds to Kennedy as early as Wednesday evening. Engineers and technicians are evaluating the cause.
NASA and SpaceX are targeting no earlier than 12:23 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Oct. 4, for the launch of the agency’s Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station with a backup opportunity on Wednesday, Oct. 5.
Mission teams will continue to monitor the impacts of Ian on the Space Coast and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and could adjust the launch date again, as necessary. More updates on the planning schedule, including crew arrival from the agency’s Johnson Space Center to Kennedy, will be provided more in the coming days. Based on current schedules, crew arrival is planned no earlier than Friday, Sept. 30. The safety of the crew, ground teams, and hardware are the utmost importance to NASA and SpaceX.
The Dragon Endurance spacecraft is currently mated to the Falcon 9 rocket and safely secured inside SpaceX’s hangar at Launch Complex 39A. Kennedy Space Center is also making preparations across the spaceport to secure other property and infrastructure. After the storm progresses, teams from NASA and SpaceX will evaluate the potential impacts to the center and determine whether to adjust the mission timeline further.
Undocking of the agency’s Crew-4 mission from the space station will move day-for-day along with the Crew-5 launch date to allow a planned five-day direct handover between crews.
The Crew-5 flight will carry NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, who will serve as mission commander and pilot, respectively, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, who will serve as mission specialists.
NASA will host a Flight Readiness Review (FRR) media teleconference on Monday, Sept. 26, in preparation for the fifth crew rotation mission with SpaceX as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
NASA and SpaceX continue to target no earlier than 12:46 p.m. EDT, Monday, Oct. 3, for launch of the agency’s Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The mission will carry NASA astronauts Nicole Aunapu Mann and Josh Cassada, who will serve as mission commander and pilot, respectively, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, who will serve as mission specialists.
These crewmates will travel to the space station for a six-month science and technology research mission. Plans also continue to return NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts following a short handover on the space station with Crew-5.
Today’s FRR starts at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT and includes the following participants:
Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA Kennedy
Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
Emily Nelson, chief flight director, Flight Operations Directorate, NASA Johnson
William Gerstenmaier, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX
Junichi Sakai, manager, International Space Station Program, JAXA
Sergei Krikalev, executive director, Human Space Flight Programs, Roscosmos
NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, entered their official quarantine period beginning Monday, Sept. 19, in preparation for their flight to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission.
The process of flight crew health stabilization is a routine part of final preparations for all missions to the space station. Spending the final two weeks before liftoff in quarantine will help ensure Crew-5 members are healthy, as well as protect the astronauts already on the space station.
Crew members can choose to quarantine at home if they are able to maintain quarantine conditions prior to travel to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. If quarantining at home is not possible – for example, if a household member can’t maintain quarantine because of job or school commitments – crew members have the option of living in the Astronaut Quarantine Facility at Johnson Space Center until they leave for Kennedy.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission is the fifth crew rotation flight to the station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Crew-5 is targeted to launch no earlier than 12:45 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3, on SpaceX’s Dragon Endurance atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy. Mission operations teams will be closely monitoring the weather leading up to liftoff.
After docking, the Crew-5 astronauts will be welcomed inside the station by the seven-member crew of Expedition 68. The astronauts of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission will undock from the space station and splash down off the coast of Florida several days after Crew-5’s arrival.
The astronauts who will fly aboard NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission next month are now well-acquainted with their ride to space. Following a successful crew equipment interface testing (CEIT) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, crew members are ready for their trip to the International Space Station for a science expedition mission.
NASA astronauts Nicole Mann, commander; Josh Cassada, pilot; and mission specialists Koichi Wakata, of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina will lift off aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft – on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket – from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy. Liftoff is targeted for no earlier than Oct. 3. As part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, Crew-5 marks the sixth human spaceflight mission on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft and the fifth crew rotation mission to the space station since 2020.
CEIT allows crew members to familiarize themselves with the launch-day timeline and the Dragon interior in a close-to-flight configuration. As part of the testing, astronauts don their flight suits, perform a suited ingress into the vehicle, conduct suit leak checks, and complete communication checkouts.
While inside the vehicle, the crew also listens to the Dragon spacecraft’s fans and pumps to prepare them for the sounds they can expect to hear on launch day. Crew members take additional time to familiarize themselves with the interior of the Dragon before egressing the vehicle, which marks CEIT’s conclusion.
The crew also has undergone mission-specific training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. This unique 18-month training program featured activities such as studying and participating in extravehicular activities; Russian language; robotics; T-38 jet flying; spacesuit training; spacecraft training; and physical, tool, and science training.
Crew-5 will fly to the space station in SpaceX’s Dragon Endurance, which previously flew the agency’s Crew-3 mission to and from the orbiting laboratory. Follow the commercial crew blog for the latest information on Crew-5 progress and flight readiness as reviews and milestones continue. NASA and its partners will host a media event in the coming weeks to discuss more about Crew-5 progress.
Engineers are making progress repairing the area where a liquid hydrogen leak was detected during the Artemis I launch attempt Sept. 3, and NASA is preserving options for the next launch opportunity as early as Friday, Sept. 23.
Technicians constructed a tent-like enclosure around the work area to protect the hardware and teams from weather and other environmental conditions at Launch Pad 39B. They have disconnected the ground- and rocket-side plates on the interface, called a quick disconnect, for the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line, performed initial inspections, and began replacing two seals – one surrounding the 8-inch line used to fill and drain liquid hydrogen from the core stage, and another surrounding the 4-inch bleed line used to redirect some of the propellant during tanking operations. The SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft are in good condition while remaining at the launch pad.
Once the work is complete, engineers will reconnect the plates and perform initial tests to evaluate the new seals. Teams will check the new seals under cryogenic, or supercold, conditions no earlier than Sept. 17 in which the rocket’s core stage and interim cryogenic propulsion stage will be loaded with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen to validate the repair under the conditions it would experience on launch day. Engineers are in the process of developing a full plan for the checkouts.
NASA has submitted a request to the Eastern Range for an extension of the current testing requirement for the flight termination system. NASA is respecting the range’s processes for review of the request, and the agency continues to provide detailed information to support a range decision.
In the meantime, NASA is instructing the Artemis team to move forward with all preparations required for testing, followed by launch, including preparations to ensure adequate supplies of propellants and gases used in tanking operations, as well as flight operations planning for the mission. NASA has requested the following launch opportunities:
Sept 23: Two-hour launch window opens at 6:47 a.m. EDT; landing on Oct. 18
Sept. 27: 70-minute launch window opens at 11:37 a.m.; landing on Nov. 5
NASA’s teams internally are preparing to support additional dates in the event flexibility is required. The agency will evaluate and adjust launch opportunities and alternate dates based on progress at the pad and to align with other planned activities, including DART’s planned impact with an asteroid, the west coast launch of a government payload, and the launch of Crew-5 to the International Space Station.
Listen to a replay of today’s media teleconference on the status of the Artemis I mission. Artemis I is an uncrewed flight test to provide a foundation for human exploration in deep space and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond.
After standing down on today’s Artemis I launch attempt when engineers could not overcome a hydrogen leak in a quick disconnect, an interface between the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, mission managers met and decided they will forego additional launch attempts in early September.
Over the next several days, teams will establish access to the area of the leak at Launch Pad 39B, and in parallel conduct a schedule assessment to provide additional data that will inform a decision on whether to perform work to replace a seal either at the pad, where it can be tested under cryogenic conditions, or inside the Vehicle Assembly Building.
To meet the requirement by the Eastern Range for the certification on the flight termination system, currently set at 25 days, NASA will need to roll the rocket and spacecraft back to the VAB before the next launch attempt to reset the system’s batteries. The flight termination system is required on all rockets to protect public safety.
During today’s launch attempt, engineers saw a leak in a cavity between the ground side and rocket side plates surrounding an 8-inch line used to fill and drain liquid hydrogen from the SLS rocket. Three attempts at reseating the seal were unsuccessful. While in an early phase of hydrogen loading operations called chilldown, when launch controllers cool down the lines and propulsion system prior to flowing super cold liquid hydrogen into the rocket’s tank at minus 423 degrees F, an inadvertent command was sent that temporarily raised the pressure in the system. While the rocket remained safe and it is too early to tell whether the bump in pressurization contributed to the cause of the leaky seal, engineers are examining the issue.
Because of the complex orbital mechanics involved in launching to the Moon, NASA would have had to launch Artemis I by Tuesday, Sept. 6 as part of the current launch period. View a list of launch windows here.
The Artemis I mission management team met this afternoon to review the status of the operations and have given a “go” for a Sept. 3 launch attempt of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft. Since the previous launch attempt on Monday, Aug. 29, teams have updated procedures, practiced operations and refined timelines.
Over the last day, teams worked to fix a leak on the tail service mast umbilical by replacing a flex-hose and a loose pressure sensor line, as the likely the source of the leak. Teams also retorqued, or tightened, the bolts surrounding that enclosure to ensure a tight seal when introducing the super-cooled propellants through those lines. While there was no leak detected at ambient temperatures, teams will continue to monitor during tanking operations.
Teams will adjust the procedures to chill down the engines, also called the kick start bleed test, about 30 to 45 minutes earlier in the countdown during the liquid hydrogen fast fill phase for the core stage. This will to allow for additional time to cool the engines to appropriate temperatures for launch.
Meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force Space Launch Delta 45 predict 60% favorable weather conditions, improving throughout the window for Saturday.
Jeremy Parsons, Exploration Ground Systems, deputy program manager, NASA Kennedy
Melody Lovin, weather officer, Space Launch Delta 45
On Saturday, live coverage of tanking operations with commentary on NASA TV will begin at 5:45 a.m. EDT. Full launch coverage in English will begin at 12:15 p.m. and NASA en espanol broadcast coverage will begin at 1 p.m. EDT. Click here for the latest information on launch briefings and events.