Why did NASA have so much trouble launching the Artemis I mission? – Life sciences

On its second launch attempt, which is planned for Saturday, September 3, NASA had to postpone the liftoff of the Artemis I mission again. According to the space agency, this decision was made due to an uncontrollable leak of liquid hydrogen.

The launch manager has called off an Artemis I launch attempt today at approximately 11:17 AM EST. The teams found a liquid hydrogen leak while loading a propellant into the core stage of a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.. Multiple troubleshooting attempts to remedy the leakage area with a quick re-seal where liquid hydrogen is fed into the rocket did not fix the problem. “Engineers continue to collect additional data,” the space agency said in a statement.

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On August 29, when the launch was first attempted, a fuel issue, along with other technical problems, delayed sending the SLS rocket and Orion capsule into space.

According to Juan Francisco Puerta, professor of aeronautical engineering at the University of Antioquia, what he sees is that NASA is dealing with a more complex scenario than they expected and is facing fuel issues that they could not predict.

Puerta and other experts consulted by EL TIEMPO emphasized that it is normal for launches of this type to be delayed, and even more so in the case of Artemis I, given that the investment in the rocket was more than 4100 million dollars, which NASA cannot do. Risks of errors in any part of the process of being sent into space.

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In the case of the fuel, what the space agency has found is that liquid hydrogen leaked during the filling process, the expert says. “Since liquid hydrogen is less dense than water, it seeps through any small space it finds. That’s what they realize,” the expert confirms.

For him, although the next launch attempt is expected to be on September 5, it is likely that NASA will decide to wait a little longer while they solve the problems presented to them that were identified in the previous operation. . At launch, it’s called a “wet dress rehearsal,” as they saw these problems with fuel.

The probability of launching the mission until October increases even more if we consider that it is likely that the repair that the missile requires will not be done directly on the launch pad where it is currently installed, but rather should be. Transferred to NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building.

Puerta concludes by noting that in the face of this new challenge of sending such an expensive rocket into space for the first time, NASA may have inadequately managed people’s expectations, given that it is not uncommon to cancel a launch, especially when A missile just being tested.

“I think NASA has not managed people’s expectations well. At the end of the day, what matters is that everything is controlled as well as possible. It’s good to think about these issues, that is, revealing these issues is important, but you have to have expectations.” More realistic “.

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