NASA targeting Launch in 2022
NASA’s trip to the moon has been postponed even more due to rocket problems.
NASA now plans to fly Artemis 1, an uncrewed voyage around the moon and the first flight of its huge Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, in March or April 2022. The voyage, which is the first in NASA’s Artemis program to return men to the lunar surface later this decade, was initially scheduled for Feb. 12, 2022. However, snags in the mission’s integrated testing program have caused yet another postponement.
NASA authorities said on Friday, December 17th, that engineers had decided the best course of action after executing a series of checks and troubleshooting. It was to replace the engine controller, restoring full functionality and redundancy to the rocket while investigating and determining the main problem. “NASA is preparing a plan and an updated timeline to replace the engine controller in March and April while continuing integrated testing and considering launch options.”
The SLS rocket has a core booster with four RS-25 engines, each with its flight controller, which NASA refers to as the engine’s “brain.” To provide system redundancy, each of these flight controllers may operate on two channels. The Artemis 1 rocket successfully tested its whole launch sequence while moored in situ earlier this year. However, one of the controllers’ channels is now operating erratically, prompting NASA to replace the equipment.
Artemis System to undergo Final Tests
The entire Artemis 1 system, comprising both the SLS rocket and the Orion spacecraft, is currently undergoing final testing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for launch. Procedures that check how ground systems connect with each aspect of the mission hardware are among the tests that have been completed.
Before NASA can commit to a launch date, certain tests must be completed. Simulating the countdown procedure, filling the rocket’s tanks with fuel, and installing the devices that will abort a flight if something goes wrong are among the outstanding things.
The final stage of Artemis 1 testing before launch will be a wet dress rehearsal, in which crews will perform each step of the launch preparations. This entailed putting propellant in the rocket. Before committing to a launch date, NASA is waiting for that test to prove successful.