NASA ready for first launchpad test of its mega moon rocket

NASA will conduct a third launch pad test of its next-generation moon rocket at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, April 9.

This is despite the emergence of another technical problem that NASA is now trying to solve.

NASA’s next-generation “mega-moon rocket” on the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA

Two previous attempts in the past week to begin the so-called “wet dress rehearsal” were called off due to the discovery of technical problems, the first due to a fan problem associated with the missile’s mobile launcher, and the second due to a stuck valve on ground equipment on the trail.

On Thursday, NASA reported the discovery of another problem, this time related to the helium venting pressure on the upper stage engine. After troubleshooting, technicians were able to establish a normal helium purge, but they continue to investigate what caused the problem.

If all goes well, the two-day wet-dress rehearsal will begin at the Kennedy Space Center on Saturday at 2:40 PM ET.

In the exercise, NASA engineers will fill the powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with fuel before performing a mock countdown.

Hopefully, if all goes according to plan and no more technical issues arise, NASA will be able to prepare for the first launch of the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft in the coming months.

The unmanned Artemis I mission will send Orion on a flight around the moon for an extensive test of its spaceflight systems. Artemis II will fly the same route, but with a crew on board, while the highly anticipated Artemis III mission, currently scheduled for no earlier than 2024, will bring the first woman and first person of color to the lunar surface.

It looks like NASA should take a break from the highly anticipated launch pad test of its next-generation rocket. In addition to the technical difficulties of recent days, the date for the first test attempt also had to be moved after four lightning strikes hit the lightning towers of the launch pad.

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