NASA mission managers have decided they will forego additional Artemis I launch attempts in early September after engineers could not overcome a hydrogen leak.

Over the next several days, NASA teams will establish access to the area of the leak at Launch Pad 39B, and conduct an assessment to provide additional data that will inform a decision on whether to perform work to replace a seal either at the pad, where it can be tested under cryogenic conditions, or inside the Vehicle Assembly Building.

During the weekend’s launch attempt, engineers saw a leak in a cavity between the ground side and rocket side plates surrounding an 8-inch line used to fill and drain liquid hydrogen from the SLS rocket.

Three unsuccessful attempts

Three attempts at reseating the seal were unsuccessful. While in an early phase of hydrogen loading operations called chilldown, when launch controllers cool down the lines and propulsion system prior to flowing super cold liquid hydrogen into the rocket’s tank at minus 423 degrees F, an inadvertent command was sent that temporarily raised the pressure in the system.

Because of the complex orbital mechanics involved in launching to the Moon, NASA said it would have had to launch Artemis I by Tuesday 6 September as part of the current launch period.
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