NASA’s SLS Moon Rocket Launching Soon
By: Angela Jin
After a “wet dress rehearsal” on June 20, NASA announced that the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket would officially move toward its first launch attempt, which is scheduled to occur between August 23 and September 6 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
During Monday’s test, NASA successfully fueled the SLS rocket with more than 700,000 gallons of cold fluid oxygen and hydrogen. Despite a liquid hydrogen leak during the rehearsal, which cut the countdown 29 seconds short, teams were able to develop software to fix the issue. The software checks whether the rocket’s temperature is in the correct range and halts the countdown if the temperature falls too low.
“It was a very successful day, and we accomplished a majority of the objectives that we had not completed in the prior [tests],” said Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, the Artemis launch director at Kennedy. “The team continues to impress me with their creative thinking and resourcefulness.”
NASA is currently planning three flights within their SLS Moon Mission. The first will send the Artemis I spacecraft into orbit around the moon in late August without astronauts on board. The second will send four astronauts to fly around the moon in Artemis II, perhaps in 2024. A third, crewed mission will land on the moon in 2025.
According to NASA.gov, the primary goal of this moon mission is to demonstrate new technologies needed for future exploration and to find water and other critical resources necessary for long-term investigation.