Launch controllers are continuing the flow of liquid nitrogen to NASA’s Artemis rocket core stage after another liquid hydrogen fuel leak was detected and reoccurred twice Saturday morning ahead of the second launch attempt.
The leak was located in the cavity between the ground and flight side plates of the quick disconnect and teams warmed up the quick disconnect to attempt to reseat it and set a proper seal.
However, the agency said that as engineers increased the pressure on the flow of liquid hydrogen into the core stage, the leak reoccurred.
“Engineers will attempt to reseat the seal in the quick disconnect cavity where the leak has been detected. This time they will stop flowing liquid hydrogen to the tank, close the valve used to fill and drain it, then increase pressure on a ground transfer line using helium to to try to reseal it,” NASA wrote in a blog post.
Artemis Launch Director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson gave the “go” to officially begin loading propellants into the 322-foot Space Launch System (SLS) rocket earlier Saturday morning – just hours before the 2:17 p.m. ET liftoff, the agency said.
The Monday launch attempt was halted by a bad engine sensor and leaking fuel.
If the launch is successful, SLS’ Orion capsule will travel into space for about six-weeks before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean on Oct. 11.
Assuming the test goes well, astronauts would climb aboard for Artemis II and fly around the moon and back as soon as 2024. A two-person lunar landing could follow by the end of 2025.
An audit in 2021 predicted that NASA would spend $93 billion on the moon program by 2025.
FOX Business’ Lucas Manfredi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.