At the end of the last week, NASA has completed a critical repair to its Space Launch System (SLS) rocket replacing the leaky seal. On September 3rd, a fitting on one of the fuel lines to the SLS began leaking hydrogen and this compromised at that time the scheduled first uncrewed test flight of the Artemis program. NASA plans to conduct now a fueling test. That test could occur as early as Saturday, Sept. 17, and will fill the 322-foot-tall (98 meters) rocket with the 736,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen it needs for launch. Hydrogen provides more performance than other rocket fuels.
“This demonstration will allow engineers to check the new seals under cryogenic, or supercold, conditions as expected on launch day and before proceeding to the next launch attempt,” the agency said. NASA officials announced it is targeting Sept. 23 for the next Artemis 1 launch attempt. A Sept. 27 date is also available. The mission will be the first integrated test of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, the SLS rocket, and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and will pave the way for human exploration of the Moon and Mars.