NASA is powering the lunar rocket for the first time in a countdown rehearsal

NASA is powering the lunar rocket for the first time in a countdown rehearsal

In this photo provided by NASA, the NASA Space Launch System rocket and the Orion crew capsule are seen on the launch pad at 39B launch complex at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Monday, June 20, 2022. NASA powered the rocket for for the first time on Monday and completed a countdown test despite a fuel leak. Credit: NASA through AP

NASA launched its huge lunar rocket for the first time on Monday and continued with a critical countdown test despite a fuel leak.

This was NASA’s fourth crack during the most important dress rehearsal, the last important stage before lunar rocketThe long-awaited debut on the market.

Previous attempts in April were thwarted by a fuel leak, as well as jammed valves and other technical issues.

Another leak – this time in an external fuel line – nearly limited Monday’s test at the Kennedy Space Center. But NASA’s managers still decided to take the countdown test.

Launch Director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said they continued to see “how the team performed, how the hardware performed and both performed very well.”

The engineers wanted to get to the 9-second mark – shortly after the engine was started – to validate all systems and procedures. But he broke off for 29 seconds. NASA spokesman Derol Neil said it was not immediately clear why the countdown had stopped.

NASA is powering the lunar rocket for the first time in a countdown rehearsal

This satellite image, provided by Maxar Technologies, shows NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion space capsule at the launch site of Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, June 18, 2022. Credit: Maxar Technologies via AP

Earlier, nearly 1 million gallons of super cold liquid hydrogen and oxygen were loaded into a 322-foot (98-meter) rocket known as the Space Launch System or SLS.

Delays in the tests pushed back the actual launch – with an empty Orion capsule flying around the moon and back – by the end of August at the earliest. This flight tests is crucial before astronauts get on board.

NASA is powering the lunar rocket for the first time in a countdown rehearsal

This satellite image, provided by Maxar Technologies, shows NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion space capsule at the launch site of Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, June 18, 2022. Credit: Maxar Technologies via AP

Blackwell-Thompson said it was too early to say what NASA’s next step might be.

The second SLS flight, scheduled for 2024, will send a crew around the moon and back. The third mission – no earlier than 2025 – will have astronauts actually landing on the moon.

The last time astronauts went to the moon was in 1972 during NASA’s Apollo program. The new program is named Artemis, Apollo’s twin sister in Greek mythology.


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