The new moon rocket POT had another dangerous escape on Saturday, when the team of launch started fueling it for liftoff on a test flight that must take place long before the astronauts come aboard.
For the second time this week, the team from launch started loading nearly 1 million gallons of gas in the 98-meter (322-foot) rocket, the most powerful ever built by the POT. Monday’s attempt was stopped by a bad engine sensor and a fuel leak.
When the sun came up, an overpressure alarm sounded and the tanking operation was briefly stopped, but no damage was caused and the effort was resumed, the Control of Launch of the POT. But minutes later, the gas Hydrogen began to leak from the engine section at the bottom of the rocket. The POT halted the operation, while engineers scrambled to plug up what was believed to be a gap around a seal.
Countdown clocks continued to tick toward an afternoon liftoff. NASA had two hours on Saturday to get the rocket out.
The POT wants to send the crew capsule on the rocket around the moon, pushing it to the limit before the astronauts take the next flight. If the five-week demonstration with test dummies is successful, astronauts could fly around the moon in 2024 and land on it in 2025. The last time people walked on the moon was 50 years ago.
Forecasters were expecting generally favorable weather at the Kennedy Space Center, especially toward the end of the launch two hours in the afternoon.
At the same time, the main rocket engineers expressed their confidence in the lines of gas more stringent and procedural changes.
On Mondays, a sensor indicated that one of the four engines was too hot, but engineers later verified that it was actually cool enough. The team of launch he planned to ignore the faulty sensor this time and rely on other instruments to make sure each main engine cooled properly.
Before starting, the main motors must be as cold as the engine. gas of liquid hydrogen flowing into them at -420 degrees Fahrenheit (minus -250 degrees Celsius). Otherwise, the resulting damage could lead to an abrupt engine shutdown and aborted flight.
Mission directors accepted the additional risk posed by the motor problem, as well as a separate problem: cracks in the rocket’s foam insulation. But they acknowledged that other problems could cause another delay.
That didn’t stop thousands of people from clogging the shoreline to see the System rocket fly off. Launch Space. Local authorities expected massive crowds due to the long Labor Day holiday weekend.
The $4.1 billion test flight is the first step in the company’s Artemis program. POT renewed lunar exploration, named after the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology.
Twelve astronauts walked on the moon during the Apollo program. POTthe last time in 1972.
Artemis, years late and billions over budget, aims to establish a sustained human presence on the moon, with crews eventually spending weeks there. It is considered a training ground for Mars.
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