With repairs complete and the rocket in place on its designated launch pad, NASA is poised to conduct another critical fuel test of its next-generation space launch system. According to Space.com, the Artemis 1 “wet dress rehearsal” begins today at 5 p.m. ET with a call to ground crew stations at Kennedy Space Center.
Over the next 48 hours, engineers will attempt to load the rocket’s first and second stages with cryogenic fuel. If there are no major setbacks, they will try to load it with propellant from Monday morning. If the test is successful, the Artemis 1 mission could start as early as July 26.
For the oft-delayed SLS, this is the second trip to the historic Launch Pad 39B. After an initial attempt at the wet dress rehearsal on April 1, NASA attempted to complete a modified version of the fuel test on April 14, but it was cut short after the agency discovered a hydrogen leak in the rocket’s mobile launch tower. NASA eventually decided to return the SLS to the Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building for repairs and to allow time for a critical nitrogen supplier to complete the capacity upgrades.
Once the wet dress rehearsal is complete, NASA can finally move on to Artemis 1. The mission will send an unmanned Orion capsule on a flight around the moon. The next two Artemis missions would feature human astronauts, with a view to landing on the moon sometime in 2025 or 2026.
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