Turn to CNN Saturday afternoon for live coverage from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.Space reporter Kristin Fisher will join a team of experts to bring us live coverage of the launchs.
The launch window opens at 2:17 p.m. ET and closes at 4:17 p.m. ET Saturday. Weather conditions are currently 60 percent favorable during the launch window, according to weather officer Melody Lovin. She doesn’t think the weather will be a “blocking factor” for the launch.
The Artemis I stack, including the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, continues on Launchpad 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
While Saturday’s launch isn’t guaranteed, “we’ll try,” Artemis mission manager Mike Sarafin said at a news conference Thursday night. Sarafin said that while launch teams take more risks when conducting launch attempts, they are acceptable risks that the team can accept. The Artemis One mission was left unattended.
One of the areas where the team took more risk was the tuning of engine #3, which led to the scrubbing of Monday’s launch attempt. Another is a burst of foam in the core-stage intermediate fuel tank that could burst and hit part of the solid rocket booster, but the team believes that is a very low probability, Sarafin said.
It’s “slightly increased risk,” Sarafin said, but “we’re clearly ready to take off.”
“We had a launch attempt planned going into August 29. It used sensors to help confirm proper thermal tuning of the engine. We had trained the plan, and then we had other issues,” Sarafin said.
“As far as normal refueling operations are concerned, we deviate from the script and the team has done an excellent job of handling dangerous situations. When you find yourself in a dangerous situation, one of the worst things you can do is go even further off script. Far.”
After reviewing the data, the team developed a plan for moving forward.
Work on the launch pad has been completed to address two separate hydrogen leaks that occurred on Monday. The team also completed a risk assessment of engine tuning issues and bubble bursting, according to NASA officials.
On Monday, a sensor on one of the rocket’s four RS-25 engines, identified as Engine 3, reflected that the engine was unable to reach the proper temperature range for the engine to start on liftoff.
The engine needs to be thermally conditioned before the supercooled propellant flows through the engine before liftoff. To protect the engine from any temperature shock, the launch controller increases the pressure in the core stage liquid hydrogen tank to deliver a bit of liquid hydrogen to the engine. This is called “bleeding”.
Now, the team has determined that this is a bad sensor that provides readings.
“We had time to go back and look at the data, compare many data sources, and do some independent analysis and confirm that this was a bad sensor,” said John Honeycutt, SLS program manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Bama State. “We’re getting good quality propellant through the engine.”
On launch day, the team will ignore bad sensors, said John Blevins, chief engineer at SLS.
An automatic launch sequencer on the rocket checks temperature, pressure and other parameters. Bad sensors that aren’t part of a sequencer aren’t considered flight instruments, Blevins said.
The team plans to start bleeding earlier than Monday in the countdown. The countdown to the launch will begin at 4:37 a.m. ET Saturday.That is When mission managers receive a weather briefing and decide whether the team should continue loading propellant into the rocket. The bloodshed is expected to occur around 8 a.m. ET, said Charlie Blackwell Thompson, Artemis launch director for NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems program.
NASA said the two-day countdown as with the first launch attempt was no longer necessary “because many of the configurations needed for launch were already in place.”
“We have to show up, we have to be ready, we have to see what the day brings,” Sarafin said.
If the mission launches on Saturday, it will orbit the moon and splash down in the Pacific Ocean on October 11.
The Artemis I mission also has a backup opportunity, which will launch on September 5.
The Artemis I mission is just the beginning of a plan to send humans back to the moon and eventually a crewed mission to Mars.