NASA is working to resolve the “annoying” problems with the Space Launch System

NASA is working to resolve the "annoying" problems with the Space Launch System

The first problem to be handled was a leak of liquid hydrogen fuel, which was remedied by tightening several loose bolts in the umbilical that transports fuel from the mobile launch platform to the rocket. NASA said its experts are certain that the bolts are now properly tightened and will maintain their seal during fueling operations. To be safe, the engineers also relocated a filter that eliminates any pollutants from the fuel to a new position. Although this filter had never produced a leak before, moving it ensures that it will not cause one in the future.

NASA is working to resolve the “annoying” problems with the Space Launch System

Other work done includes checking whether the rocket was damaged by the lightning strikes and thunder storm that occurred during one of the tests — but it wasn’t, as there are towers on the launch pad thatchannel lightning away from the rocket to prevent damage in this type of situation. NASA has also requested its supplier of gaseous nitrogen used in the test upgrade its facilities in time for the next attempt.

Another issue the team has been working on was a helium check valve that was stuck open due to an errant piece of rubber. The engineers had been unsure where this rubber had come from, but they have since found a damaged O-ring seal that came loose and got stuck in the valve. Though the engineers were able to replace any support hardware that may have been affected, it is still not clear what caused the O-ring to come loose in the first place. The team will continue looking for the root cause of the problem and test their fix by repressurizing the system.

NASA has previously said that it does not expect to try the wet dress rehearsal again until June at the earliest. In the update, the agency clarified that “NASA will announce dates for rolling out to the pad and the next wet dress rehearsal attempt once work inside the [Vehicle Assembly Building] and testing of the nitrogen system are nearing completion.”

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