The engineers of the NASA had discovered it shortly before the last attempt to launchArtemis 1 on September 3, the leak that caused flight cancellation is now fixed. The US space agency said in an update that technicians were able to replace the defective seal on Friday, September 9.
During the repair work, NASA aimed to plug a hydrogen leak at a line about 20 cm wide. It was this leak that forced the agency to cancel the launch 40 minutes before the engines start September 3.
During seal replacement, engineers also took the opportunity to replace another joint on a smaller line of about 10 cmand which caused a leak during the first launch attempt on August 29.
Place for testing
With all faulty seals replaced, NASA is currently preparing to perform fuel supply tests. According to information provided by the agency, this could take place on next september 17. It will be a question of filling the rocket measuring 98 m high with more than 2.7 million liters of hydrogen and liquid oxygen.
According to the update released by NASA, this demonstration will allow engineers to check the new seals under cryogenic or very low temperature conditions. These conditions correspond to those of the launch.
The conditions to be fulfilled
On September 8, it was announced that NASA would try again to launch the Artemis 1 mission on September 23, or else on September 27. But these opportunities will depend on the repair status of the detected leaks.
If the next test is successful, engineers can move on to another type of test. It will be check if the cooling of the 4 motors at a temperature of – 251 °C works properly. This process is necessary to prepare the engines to receive the cryogenic fuel. During the first two launch attempts, NASA was unable to perform this test.
Apart from the technical side, we know that the American space agency will also have to ensure obtaining a waiver from the US Space Force regarding self-destruct system. This will make it possible not to have to bring the rocket back to the hangar to test the system which will ensure the destruction of the rocket in the event that it deviates from its trajectory.