x

Default Category

NASA Fuels New Moon Rocket in Week’s 2nd Launch Attempt

September 3, 2022

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA began fueling its new moon rocket Saturday for liftoff on a test flight that must go well before astronauts climb aboard.

For the second time this week, the launch team began loading nearly 1 million gallons of fuel into the 322-foot (98-meter) rocket, the most powerful ever built by NASA. Monday’s attempt was halted by a bad engine sensor and leaking fuel.

As the sun rose, an over-pressure alarm sounded and the tanking operation was briefly halted, but no damage occurred and the effort resumed, NASA’s Launch Control reported.

NASA wants to send the crew capsule atop the rocket around the moon, pushing it to the limit before astronauts get on the next flight. If the five-week demo with test dummies succeeds, astronauts could fly around the moon in 2024 and land on it in 2025. People last walked on the moon 50 years ago.

Forecasters expected generally favorable weather at Kennedy Space Center, especially toward the end of the two-hour afternoon launch window.

At the same time, the rocket’s lead engineers expressed confidence in the tightened-up fuel lines and procedure changes.

On Monday, a sensor indicated one of the four engines was too warm, but engineers later verified it actually was cold enough. The launch team planned to ignore the faulty sensor this time around and rely on other instruments to ensure each main engine was properly chilled.

Before igniting, the main engines need to be as frigid as the liquid hydrogen fuel flowing into them at minus-420 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-250 degrees Celsius). If not, the resulting damage could lead to an abrupt engine shutdown and aborted flight.

Mission managers accepted the additional risk posed by the engine issue as well as a separate problem: cracks in the rocket’s insulating foam. But they acknowledged other problems could prompt yet another delay.

That didn’t stop thousands from jamming the coast to see the Space Launch System rocket soar. Local authorities expected massive crowds because of the long Labor Day holiday weekend.

The $4.1 billion test flight is the first step in NASA’s Artemis program of renewed lunar exploration, named after the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology.

Twelve astronauts walked on the moon during NASA’s Apollo program, the last time in 1972.

Artemis — years behind schedule and billions over budget — aims to establish a sustained human presence on the moon, with crews eventually spending weeks at a time there. It’s considered a training ground for Mars.

___
By MARCIA DUNN AP Aerospace Writer

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

RELATED

ATHENS - The Greek people have expressed their confidence in us, but they say we must try harder, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Sunday evening, when results showed a lead but disappointed expectations for higher percentages.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

ATHENS — Authorities in Greece are closing down the Acropolis in Athens during the afternoon on Thursday for a second day as the country swelters under unseasonably high temperatures.

ATHENS - A disappointing third place finish in European Parliament elections with just 12.

ATHENS — Desperate hands clutched at Ali Elwan's arms, legs and neck, and screams misted his ears, as he spat out saltwater and fought for three hours to keep afloat in the night, dozens of miles from land.

ATHENS - It was planned to be Europe’s biggest urban green space - almost twice the size of New York’s Central Park - before Greece’s economic crisis turned it to a commercial development and now there’s concerns it could be a playground for the rich.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.