KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — After standing down on Saturday’s Artemis I launch attempt when engineers could not overcome a hydrogen leak in a quick disconnect, mission managers decided they will forego additional launch attempts in early September.
Teams will decide this week on whether to perform work to replace a seal either at the pad, where it can be tested under cryogenic conditions, or inside the Vehicle Assembly Building.
In the the latter decision, NASA will need to roll the rocket and spacecraft back to the VAB to reset the flight termination system’s batteries. The flight termination system is required on all rockets to protect public safety.
During Saturday’s launch attempt, engineers saw a leak in a cavity between the ground side and rocket side plates surrounding an 8-inch line used to fill and drain liquid hydrogen from the SLS rocket. Three attempts at reseating the seal were unsuccessful.
While in an early phase of hydrogen loading operations called chilldown, an inadvertent command was sent that temporarily raised the pressure in the system. While the rocket remained safe and it is too early to tell whether the bump in pressurization contributed to the cause of the leaky seal, engineers are examining the issue.