Hydrogen leak ends tanking test for Artemis moon rocket – Spaceflight Now

THE EDITOR’S OPINION: NASA officials said on Friday that the first time it will try to re -engineer the Artemis 1 costume on Friday, April 21, but believe the technologies will be able to find and fix it. to leak hydrogen.

NASA’s Space Launch System at Launch Complex 39B, with gas oxygen tanks releasing from the top of the base base during a cryogenic tanking test on Friday. Found: NASA / Ben Smegelsky

A hydrogen leak near the connection between NASA’s Space Launch System moon rocket and its space launch site ended another attempt on Friday to shoot cryogenic missiles into a high-altitude mega-booster at Kennedy Space Center.

NASA officials canceled the count Friday evening after hours of delay due to four technical problems. The final release, or more importantly, is the hydrogen leak into the umbilical service tail mast at the electrical outlet near the bottom of the SLS base station.

Engineers discovered the leak during operations Friday to install liquid hydrogen at the base site at Launch Complex 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The leak required officials to stop the attack with a 5% hydrogen tank full and a water oxygen tank at a 49% level, according to NASA.

Serving the umbilical mast tail trails the cold launchers from the hand-held base to the rocket’s 27.6-foot-wide (8.4-meter) massive base.

The advertising team plans to stream the accelerators from the SLS core stage on Thursday evening, allowing technicians to return to pad 39B to monitor the leaky umbilical cord, evaluate the data, and decide what to do to fix the problem, NASA said.

“Hydrogen is terrible, cold, and a tiny molecule that’s known for fun,” said Jeremy Parsons, vice president of NASA’s Earth exploration program at Kennedy. “All of these systems are tested, inspected and tested to the highest level before the wet cloth is processed.”

But looking at the leak between the SLS core stage and the electrical installation site, and even testing the new fuel, everything was done at high temperatures. Hydrogen water is dried below 423 degrees Fahrenheit (less than 253 degrees Celsius), and water oxygen is kept below 297 degrees Fahrenheit (less than 183 degrees Celsius).

At those temperatures, the valves, seals, and gaskets can vary and change shape, revealing a leak that is not visible in temperature conditions. Hydrogen can find its way through seals found in other molecules.

“Under free operating conditions with the rocket, we are ready and see leaks that are really possible,” Parsons said Friday. “We have emergency gas systems and leak detection systems in place to properly monitor the rocket and alert us to situations outside normal limits.”

NASA said the leak was found Friday in a so -called “purge can” on the outside of the umbilical tail service. Cleaning of the umbilical cord can be done, which puts it back into the umbilical cord when it leaves.

The technology cleanup will be available while the rocket is in the launch phase, giving NASA officials hope that the leak can be fixed without having to return the Space Launch System to Earth. Car Club.

Hydrogen leaks were cut off at other rocket projects. NASA engineers spent months searching for hydrogen leaks stored on NASA spacecraft in the 1990s.

“Surviving the summer of hydrogen leaks“ in the car I can love, ”said Wayne Hale, a NASA astronaut and director of the aerospace program.“ And after that. 35 or dismissal. A leak is initially expected. But it’s not fun. “

The umbilical mast service tail is located on the SLS Mobile Launcher deck, next to the base of the rocket’s base. Available: NASA / Spaceflight Now

NASA’s advertising team discovered the hydrogen leak after overcoming several other challenges on Friday, including terminating the supply of gaseous nitrogen to pad 39B, a problem with the temperature of the water oxygen, and the increase in pressure observed when the engines first tried to load the hydrogen into the base base. .

The census test on Friday after the first two attempts April 3 and April 4 to fully fill the Space Launch System with super-cold liquid hydrogen and water oxygen, a key factor that has been identified as a cleanup. wet clothes. Those attempts were thwarted by problems with grounding equipment on pad 39B and a manual valve on the release tower that was left in the wrong position when the passengers left the paddock.

NASA rolled a 322-foot (98-meter) lunar rock from the Space Station to 39B on March 17, showing the rocket being recorded for the first time. When NASA’s crew is happy they have achieved the goals of the wet clothes training, the teams will return the rocket to the VAB for inspection and the final clothes for the launch.

NASA officials plan to launch a lunar rocket on the Artemis 1 mission in early June, but before that the calculation attempt is slow. The rocket will launch an unidentified Orion capsule around the moon on a test flight before NASA launches astronauts on the second SLS / Orion mission. The Artemis project hopes to return astronauts a month later this decade.

Going into Friday’s training count, NASA officials decided to stop launching cryogenic launchers at the top echelons of the Space Launch System. Engineers were unable to capture that part of the rocket, built by the United Launch Alliance, due to a fallen helium shell.

The base, built by Boeing, contains most of the cryogenic fuels used by the rocket.

As part of Friday’s test results, NASA’s Kennedy broadcast team dumped small amounts of cryogenic propellant into conversion lines at a telemarketing tower in contact with high -altitude beams. The work “rested” the propellant lines, allowing the engineers to verify their readiness for the start day, but did not pour the propellants into high -pressure tanks.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1.

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