Skip to main content

NASA won’t try testing its Space Launch System rocket again until June

NASA will attempt another test of its new Space Launch System rocket next month, officials from the agency confirmed this week. After three failed attempts to perform a wet dress rehearsal, in which the rocket is brought out to the launch pad and is filled with fuel, the rocket will remain in its storage building until early to mid June.

Technicians will keep working on the problems uncovered in the previous wet dress rehearsals, the first of which was conducted on Sunday, April 3, while the rocket remains in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at Kennedy Space Center. As reported by SpaceNews, NASA officials said in a teleconference that they had made progress in fixing two of the issues which had arisen during the tests, including replacing a helium check value that had become stuck open during the second test on April 4.

Related Videos

NASA said that the value had been stuck open due to a small piece of rubber in it which stopped it from closing, and they were still investigating where the rubber had come from.

Another issue was a leak of the liquid hydrogen fuel used to power the rocket, which forced the third attempt at the wet dress rehearsal to be called off on April 16. The likely cause of this leak was found to be loose bolts on a gasket, and these had since been tightened up. Cliff Lanham, senior vehicle operations manager for NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems Program, said they think this should fix the leak issue but they won’t know for sure until they try running fuel through the lines once again.

NASA will try to perform the wet dress rehearsal for a fourth time in either early June or mid June, officials said. But they also warned that one more rehearsal may be necessary after this one, to get the rocket ready for its first orbital launch.

The rocket had been tentatively scheduled for launch as part of the Artemis I mission in June this year, but this will now be pushed back to August at the earliest.

Editors' Recommendations

SpaceX smashes its own record for rocket launches in a year
A Falcon 9 rocket lifts off on May 30, for the first crewed test flight of the Crew Dragon capsule. flight

When it comes to SpaceX rocket launches, this year has been the busiest by a long way.

In 2020, for example, the commercial spaceflight company led by Elon Musk achieved a total of 26 launches, while last year it sent 31 rockets skyward, with all of the missions involving its dependable Falcon 9 rocket.

Read more
Watch highlights of SpaceX’s 60th rocket launch of 2022
Falcon 9 launches SXM-8 to orbit on SpaceX’s 125th successful mission, Sunday, Jun 6 2021.

SpaceX launched its 60th mission of the year on Wednesday, and it’s not done yet.

The California-based commercial spaceflight company launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 54 Starlink internet satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral in Florida at 4:34 a.m. ET on Wednesday, December 28.

Read more
How to watch SpaceX launch NASA’s Lunar Flashlight mission
NASA's Lunar Flashlight spacecraft.

Following a delay to its original launch schedule, SpaceX is once again preparing to launch NASA’s Lunar Flashlight satellite, as well as HAKUTO-R Mission 1 in what is the first privately led Japanese mission to attempt a lunar landing.

All being well, the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the payloads will lift off from the Kennedy Space Center in the early hours of Sunday, December 11. The launch will be streamed online as it happens, so check below for the precise details on how to watch.

Read more