KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (WHNT) — Shortly before 4:00 p.m. CT, Team Artemis I ended Monday’s wetsuit rehearsal attempt. In a statement released by NASA, it cited “an issue with a panel on the mobile launcher that controls the core stage vent valve.”
You can read NASA’s full statement on this below:
“The Artemis I team completed today’s attempt at the wetsuit repeat test at 5 p.m. The countdown ended after partially loading liquid oxygen into the core stage tank of the Space Launch System. This provided the crews with a valuable opportunity to train and ensure the modeled loading procedures were accurate. It was the first time new systems were used at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39B. The team was able to monitor the core stage of Artemis I as it was exposed to cryogenic liquids and collect data that will inform updates to propellant loading procedures.
After solving a temperature limit issue for liquid oxygen, which delayed the countdown by several hours, the team successfully developed a new procedure to load liquid oxygen and filled the tank to 50% . Liquid oxygen is an extremely cold or cryogenic propellant that is maintained at minus 297 degrees Fahrenheit.
While cooling the lines in preparation for loading liquid hydrogen, crews encountered an issue with a panel on the mobile launcher that controls the central stage vent valve. The purpose of the vent valve is to relieve center stage pressure during filling. Given the time needed to resolve the issue as teams neared the end of their shifts, the launch director called for the test to be halted for the day. A team will investigate the issue at the pad level, and the team will review the availability of range and the time needed to run the systems before making a decision on the way forward.
The wet rehearsal is the last major test before launch. This test allows the team to practice propellant loading and thoroughly check Artemis I rocket systems when exposed to cryogenics.”
This is not the first delay of the wet dress rehearsal. Over the weekend, two other issues delayed the process. During a storm, four lightning strikes struck near Launch Pad 39B. A blow hit one of the lightning protection poles. Mike Sarafin, an Artemis mission manager, said this particular strike was “much stronger than others that have been seen.”
During a teleconference on Sunday March 3, Sarafin said: “we had prepared for lightning strikes, as part of our mission preparations”.
“We even pre-briefed that we were heading to dress rehearsal,” he continued.
On Sunday, there was a problem with a supply fan system used to keep dangerous gases out of the mobile launcher. This instance also interrupted the rehearsal, until it resumed on Monday morning.
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