NASA Artemis I Mega Moon Rocket Test Encounters Lightning & Pressure Issues

By Poornima Rawat / Technical Correspondent THE GPS TIME

NASA has called off the wet dress rehearsal of the Artemis I Mega Moon Rocket on Sunday because of the lightning and pressurization of the mobile launch vehicle, but the rehearsal is expected to resume soon on Monday.

This rehearsal had been necessary for NASA to test out every system before leading up to launch of its Mega Moon Rocket, Space Launch System (SLS), without actually launching the rocket. But due to the safety concerns with ground equipment on booster’s mobile launcher platform, the critical fueling test of Artemis 1 moon rocket was cancelled.

The Mega Moon Rocket known as Space Launch System (SLS) was planned to fuel with 700,000 gallons (2.6 million liters) of super-cold propellant by the Technicians on April 3, Sunday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (Florida) Pad 39B. This fueling test was the final stage of the wet dress rehearsal which is designed to test the launch countdown process for NASA’s Artemis 1 mission to the moon going to take place later this year.

According to NASA, the Artemis 1 rocket’s mobile launcher, a platform providing all the vital connections to the rocket that includes its gantry tower and other vital equipment lost the ability to pressurize because of the problems with two fans that are designed to create the positive pressure and keep out all the harmful gases.

The launch director of the Artermis, Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said that the team has decided to stand down to troubleshoot the issue and will make another try on Monday. During the media teleconference of NASA, Artemis I mission manager, Mike Sarafin said that they will work through these issues and very soon they are going to resume the operations.

Though some technical pressure issues faced by Artermis, but there was also some weather related problems. The severe weather resulted in four lightning strikes around the Launch Complex 39B pad perimeter. The fourth lightning strike was the strongest among the rest appeared before. It did no damage to SLS rocket and the Orion capsule, but the weather set the team back by about four hours.

NASA will attempt to finish the wet dress rehearsal on Monday (April 4), expected to begin around 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT).