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How to watch NASA’s Artemis I SLS moon rocket launch

26 mins read

The gigantic Space Launch System (SLS) of NASA is almost ready to launch. This much-awaited rocket launch, which has been planned for more than a decade, represents NASA’s return to crewed moon missions. While there won’t be any astronauts on board for this launch, the “Artemis I” mission will act as a test for the future objective of landing the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon.

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NASA’s Orion capsule will be launched by the SLS during its initial flight, where it will begin a journey around the Moon that might last 39 to 42 days. A four-mile mission that took NASA nearly 10 hours to complete last week involved rolling the 322-foot rocket to launch pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

How to watch NASA’s Artemis I SLS moon rocket launch
(Courtesy of NASA)

Here is how to watch NASA’s Artemis I SLS moon rocket launch

The SLS rocket will be launched by NASA on August 29, 2022. The launch window will last for two hours and begin at 8:33 am ET/6:03 pm IST. If there are no delays, the rocket could launch at any moment between 8:33 am ET and 10:33 am ET (8:03 pm IST).

NASA is live streaming the launch from its website, YouTube channel, and NASA app if you can’t attend in person. We have also embedded NASA’s live YouTube player so you can watch rocket lunch directly from here without leaving this site.


Every possible update of Artemis I SLS Moon Rocket Launch

Artemis

*All updates are in the newest to older sort order

UPDATE from Sept. 25, 2022 — “Weather Monitoring and Rollback Preparations Continue”

At 9:11 pm EDT/6:41 am IST — “NASA continues to closely monitor the weather forecast associated with Tropical Storm Ian while conducting final preparations to allow for rolling back the Artemis I Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft to the Vehicle Assembly Building.”

“Managers met Sunday evening to review the latest information on the storm from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Space Force, and the National Hurricane Center and decided to meet again Monday to allow for additional data gathering overnight before making the decision on roll back. NASA continues to prioritize its people while protecting the Artemis I rocket and spacecraft system.”


UPDATE from Sept. 25, 2022 — “NASA Closely Monitoring Weather While Rollback Preparations Continue”

At 10:53 am EDT/8:23 pm IST — “NASA continues to closely monitor the weather forecast associated with Tropical Storm Ian as preparations for rolling back the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft to the Vehicle Assembly Building continue. The agency is making incremental decisions that prioritize the agency’s people and hardware and its process is in accordance with established NASA policies for tropical storms and hurricanes.”

“The latest information provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Space Force, and the National Hurricane Center indicates a slower moving and potentially more westerly track of the storm than yesterday’s predictions showed, providing more time for the agency’s decision making process and for employees to prioritize their families should the storm impact the Kennedy Space Center area.”

“NASA managers will meet this evening to evaluate whether to roll back or remain at the launch pad to preserve an opportunity for a launch attempt on Oct. 2. The exact time of a potential rollback will depend on future weather predictions throughout the day and could occur Monday or very early Tuesday morning.”

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UPDATE from Sept. 24, 2022 — “Artemis I Managers Wave Off Sept. 27 Launch, Preparing for Rollback”

At 9:56 am EDT/7:26 pm IST — “NASA is foregoing a launch opportunity Tuesday, Sept. 27, and preparing for rollback, while continuing to watch the weather forecast associated with Tropical Storm Ian. During a meeting Saturday morning, teams decided to stand down on preparing for the Tuesday launch date to allow them to configure systems for rolling back the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft to the Vehicle Assembly Building. Engineers deferred a final decision about the roll to Sunday, Sept. 25, to allow for additional data gathering and analysis. If Artemis I managers elect to roll back, it would begin late Sunday night or early Monday morning.”

“The agency is taking a step-wise approach to its decision making process to allow the agency to protect its employees by completing a safe roll in time for them to address the needs of their families while also protecting for the option to press ahead with another launch opportunity in the current window if weather predictions improve. NASA continues to rely on the most up to date information provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Space Force, and the National Hurricane Center.”

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UPDATE from Sept. 23, 2022 — “Teams Monitoring Weather While Protecting Option for Artemis I Launch”

At 7:54 pm EDT/5:24 am IST — “NASA is monitoring the forecast associated with the formation of a tropical depression in the Caribbean Sea while in parallel continuing to prepare for a potential launch opportunity on Tuesday, Sept. 27 during a 70-minute window that opens at 11:37 a.m. EDT.

Managers are initiating activities on a non-interference basis to enable an accelerated timeline for rolling back to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to protect the rocket, should it be necessary. Discussions about whether to remain at the launch pad or roll back to the VAB are on-going and based on the latest forecast predictions. NASA will make a decision on whether to remain at the launch pad or roll back using incremental protocols to take interim steps necessary to protect people and hardware with a final decision anticipated no later than Saturday. The step-wise decision making process over the next day lets the agency protect its employees by completing a safe roll in time for them to address the needs of their families, while allowing flexibility to hold the launch window should weather predictions improve.”

“NASA is grateful to its agency partners at NOAA, United State Space Force and the National Hurricane Center for giving us the highest quality products to protect our nation’s flight test to return us to the Moon.”

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UPDATE from Sept. 21, 2022 — “Artemis Cryogenic Demonstration Test Concludes, All Objectives Met”

At 4:59 pm EDT/2:29 am IST — “The launch director has confirmed all objectives have been met for the cryogenic demonstration test, and teams are now proceeding with critical safing activities and preparations for draining the rocket’s tanks. After encountering a hydrogen leak early in the loading process, engineers were able to troubleshoot the issue and proceed with the planned activities.”

“The four main objectives for the demonstration included assessing the repair to address the hydrogen leak identified on the previous launch attempt, loading propellants into the rocket’s tanks using new procedures, conducting the kick-start bleed, and performing a pre-pressurization test. The new cryogenic loading procedures and ground automation were designed to transition temperature and pressures slowly during tanking to reduce the likelihood of leaks that could be caused by rapid changes in temperature or pressure. After encountering the leak early in the operation, teams further reduced loading pressures to troubleshoot the issue and proceed with the demonstration test. The pre-pressurization test enabled engineers to calibrate the settings used for conditioning the engines during the terminal count and validate timelines before launch day to reduce schedule risk during the countdown on launch day.”

“Teams will evaluate the data from the test, along with weather and other factors, before confirming readiness to proceed into the next launch opportunity. The rocket remains in a safe configuration as teams assess next steps.”

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UPDATE from Sept. 21, 2022 — “CAPSTONE Team Makes Progress Toward Recovery Operation”

At 4:09 pm EDT/1:39 am IST — “Over the past week, the CAPSTONE spacecraft was able to improve thermal conditions for the propellant and other critical systems while maintaining positive power generation. The operations team has been performing ground and spacecraft testing in preparation for an attempt to stop CAPSTONE’s spin. This operation would return the spacecraft to normal status and will be attempted when preparations and testing are complete.”


UPDATE from Sept. 21, 2022 — “Pre-Pressurization Test Complete”

At 4:03 pm EDT/1:33 am IST — “Launch controllers have completed the pre-pressurization test, obtaining pressure and temperature level readings as desired. Controllers are continuing with the procedures for today’s test, gathering additional data.”


UPDATE from Sept. 21, 2022 — “ICPS Liquid Hydrogen in Replenish, Teams Moving Ahead with Pre-Press Test”

At 3:37 pm EDT/1:07 am IST — “Launch controllers have reached the replenish phase of liquid hydrogen loading operations for the interim cryogenic propulsion stage of the Space Launch System rocket and are continuing operations to load liquid oxygen into the upper stage. Teams are moving into operations to conduct a pre-pressurization test, in which engineers will bring the core stage liquid hydrogen tank up to the pressure level it will experience just before launch while engineers calibrate the settings for conditioning the engines at a higher flow rate, as will be done during the terminal count on launch day. The pre-pressurization test is expected to last about an hour.”

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UPDATE from Sept. 21, 2022 — “Liquid Hydrogen in Replenish, Teams Move Ahead with ICPS Loading”

At 1:35 pm EDT/11:05 pm IST — “The Space Launch System’s core stage liquid hydrogen tank is now full and is being replenished as some of the supercold propellant boils off. Since resuming liquid hydrogen fast fill operations, the rate of the hydrogen leak at the tail service mast umbilical quick disconnect has remained within allowable rates. The core stage liquid oxygen tank also is in the replenish phase.”

“Teams are pressing ahead with operations to load propellants into the interim cryogenic propulsion stage of the rocket. Once liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen loading on the stage reach the replenish phase, the pre-press test, one of the objectives for today’s demonstration, will occur.”

“The pre-pressurization test will bring the core stage liquid hydrogen tank up to the pressure level it will experience just before launch while engineers calibrate the settings for conditioning the engines at a higher flow rate, as will be done during the terminal count on launch day.”


UPDATE from Sept. 21, 2022 — “Artemis Cryogenic Test: Core Stage LH2 Underway; LOX Fill and Engine Bleed Test Complete”

At 12:24 pm EDT/9:54 pm IST — “Fast fill continues for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s core stage liquid hydrogen (LH2) tank at a reduced pressure as teams monitor the area where the hydrogen leak was detected. Fast fill is complete for the core stage liquid oxygen (LOX) tank and engineers have completed the engine bleed test, which flows supercold LH2 to the four RS-25 engines, bringing their temperature down to the conditions required for launch.”

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UPDATE from Sept. 21, 2022 — “Liquid Hydrogen Filling Operations Resume”

At 11:40 am EDT/9:10 pm IST — “Teams have resumed the flow of liquid hydrogen into the core stage after warming up the quick disconnect, or interface where the fuel feed line connects to the rocket, to reseat the connection as part of their troubleshooting plan to fast fill the propellant.”


UPDATE from Sept. 21, 2022 — “Hydrogen Leak Detected During Slow Fill Operations”

At 10:14 am EDT/7:44 pm IST — “Launch controllers have detected a hydrogen leak in a cavity in the tail service mast umbilical and have stopped flowing the propellant to the rocket while they troubleshoot the issue. Engineers will warm up the quick disconnect, or interface where the fuel feed line connects to the rocket, to attempt to reseat it.”


UPDATE from Sept. 21, 2022 — “Artemis Cryogenic Test: Core Stage LOX Fast Fill Underway, Proceeding Toward LH2 Slow Fill”

At 9:13 am EDT/6:43 pm IST — “Fast fill is underway for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s core stage liquid oxygen (LOX) tank. Next, teams will transition from slow fill to fast fill for the liquid hydrogen (LH2) tank and initiate, or “kick start,” the engine bleed, which will begin flowing supercold LH2 to start cooling the four RS-25 engines down to the temperature conditions required for launch.”

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UPDATE from Sept. 21, 2022 — “Core Stage Liquid Oxygen Chilldown Complete, Slow Fill Underway”

At 8:47 am EDT/6:17 pm IST — “After chilling the lines for liquid oxygen (LOX), teams have begun the slow fill phase to load LOX into the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s core stage and have started chilling down the transfer line for the liquid hydrogen (LH2). Once LOX slow fill is complete, teams will transition to fast fill operations. Once the LH2 chilldown operations are complete, slow fill of liquid hydrogen will begin.”


UPDATE from Sept. 21, 2022 — “Launch Director Gives “Go” to Begin Cryogenic Operations, NASA TV Coverage Underway”

At 7:32 am EDT/5:02 pm IST — “Artemis Launch Director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson has given the “go” to officially begin loading propellants into the Space Launch System rocket as part of today’s Artemis I cryogenic demonstration test. Weather remains favorable for the test.”

“Tanking operations will begin with chilldown of the core stage liquid oxygen transfer line.”

NASA TV coverage is underway.

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UPDATE from Sept. 20, 2022 — “Preparations Continue, Key Milestones for Artemis I Demonstration Test”

At 7:44 pm EDT/5:14 am IST — “As the countdown continued Tuesday toward the cryogenic demonstration test, teams conducted final closeouts at the pad and performed other preparations for the test. Work will continue through the night, and all non-essential personnel will leave Launch Pad 39B by 3:40 a.m. EDT Wednesday. The launch director is expected to give a “go” to begin loading cryogenic propellants into the rocket at approximately 7 a.m. Although the countdown clock is ticking down to a simulated liftoff time of 3:40 p.m., the test is planned to conclude around 3 p.m. after the teams have met the objectives and will not go into the terminal count phase of the launch countdown. Teams may extend the duration of the test should circumstances warrant it.”

“The launch countdown contains “L Minus” and “T Minus” times. “L minus” indicates how far away we are from liftoff in hours and minutes. “T minus” time is a sequence of events that are built into the launch countdown. Pauses in the countdown, or “holds,” are built into the countdown to allow the launch team to target a precise launch window, and to provide a cushion of time for certain tasks and procedures without impacting the overall schedule. During planned holds in the countdown process, the countdown clock is intentionally stopped and the T- time also stops. The L- time, however, continues to advance.”

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Below are some of the key events that take place at each milestone after the countdown begins.

  • L-9 hours, 40 minutes and counting
    • 6 a.m.: Built in countdown hold begins (L-9H40M – L-7H10M) 
    • 6 a.m.: Launch team conducts a weather and tanking briefing (L-9H40M – L-8H50M) 
    • 7 a.m.: Launch team decides if they are “go” or “no-go” to begin tanking the rocket (L-8H40M) 
    • 7:25 a.m. Core Stage LOX transfer line chilldown (L-8H15M – L-8H) 
  • L-8 hours and counting
    • 7:40 a.m.: Core stage LOX main propulsion system (MPS) chilldown (L-8H – L-7H20M) 
    • 8:20 a.m.: Core stage LOX slow fill (L-7H20M – L-7H5M) 
    • 8:20 a.m.: Core Stage LH2 transfer line chilldown (L-7H20M – L-7H10M) 
    • 8:30 a.m.: Core Stage LH2 slow fill start (L-7H10M – L-6H10M) 
    • 8:40 a.m.: Core Stage LOX fast fill (L-7H5M – L-4H15M) 
    • 9:30 a.m.: Core Stage LH2 fast fill (L-6H10M – L-5H5M) 
    • 9:40 a.m.: Engine bleed kick start (L-6H)
    • 10:20 a.m.: ICPS LH2 ground support equipment (GSE) and tank chilldown (L-5H20M – L-5H) 
    • 10:35 a.m.: Core Stage LH2 topping (L-5H5M – L-5H)
  • L-5 hours and counting
    • 10:40a.m.: Core Stage LH2 replenish (L-5H – cutoff) 
    • 10:40a.m.: Core stage 90-minute bleed valve timer start (L-5H)
    • 10:40a.m.: ICPS LH2 fast fill start (L-5H – L-4H) 
    • 11:25 a.m.: Core stage LOX topping (L-4H15M– L-4H) 
    • 11:40 a.m.: Core Stage LOX replenish (L-4H – cutoff) 
    • 11:40 a.m.: ICPS LOX MPS chilldown (L-4H– L-3H45M) 
    • 11:55 a.m.: ICPS LOX fast fill (L-3H45M– L-3H) 
    • 11:55 a.m.: ICPS LH2 tank topping start (L-3H45M – L-2H55M)
  • L-3 hours and counting
    • 12:15 p.m.: ICPS LH2 replenish (L-3H25M – cutoff) 
    • 12:50 p.m.: Core stage LH2 Pre-press test (L-2H50M) — approximately one hour
    • 1:10 p.m.: ICPS LOX topping (L-2H30M – L-2H10M) 
    • 1:30 p.m.: ICPS LOX replenish (L-2H10M – cutoff) 
    • 3 p.m.: Cutoff and critical safing (L-40M)
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UPDATE from Sept. 19, 2022 — “Artemis I Cryogenic Demonstration Test on Track for Wednesday”

At 7:51 pm EDT/5:21 am IST — “NASA remains on track for an Artemis I cryogenic demonstration test on Wednesday, Sept. 21. In the days since the previous launch attempt, teams have analyzed the seals that were replaced on an interface for the liquid hydrogen fuel line between the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the mobile launcher and adjusted procedures for loading cryogenic, or supercold, propellants into the rocket. Engineers identified a small indentation found on the eight-inch-diameter liquid hydrogen seal that may have been a contributing factor to the leak on the previous launch attempt.”

“With new seals, updated cryogenic procedures, and additional ground software automation, teams are now preparing to demonstrate the updates under the same cryogenic conditions the rocket will experience on launch day. During the demonstration, the four main objectives include assessing the repair to address the hydrogen leak, loading propellants into the rocket’s tanks using the new procedures, conducting the kick-start bleed, and performing a pre-pressurization test.”

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“Based on recent engineering assessments, the new cryogenic loading procedures and ground automation will transition temperatures and pressures more slowly during tanking to reduce the likelihood of leaks that could be caused by rapid changes in temperature or pressure. After the liquid hydrogen tank transitions from the slow fill phase to fast fill, teams will initiate, or “kick-start,” the flow of liquid hydrogen through the engines to begin conditioning, or chilling them down, for launch. After both tanks have reached the replenish phase, the pre-pressurization test will bring the liquid hydrogen tank up to the pressure level it will experience just before launch while engineers calibrate the settings for conditioning the engines at a higher flow rate, as will be done during the terminal count. Performing the pressurization test during the demonstration will enable teams to dial-in the necessary settings and validate timelines before launch day, reducing schedule risk during the launch countdown.”

“Call to stations for the demonstration occurred at 5 p.m. EDT Monday. The launch director is expected to give a “go” to begin loading cryogenic propellants into the rocket at approximately 7 a.m. Wednesday. The test is planned to conclude around 3 p.m. after the teams have met the objectives and will not go into the terminal count phase of the launch countdown. Teams may extend the duration of the test should circumstances warrant it.”

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“During the test, teams will load propellants into both the core stage and upper stage tanks, and Orion and the SLS boosters will remain unpowered. Meteorologists currently predict favorable weather for the test with a 15% chance of lightning within 5 nautical miles of the area, which meets criteria required for the test, and will continue to monitor expected conditions.”

“NASA Television will provide live coverage with commentary of the demonstration beginning at 7:15 a.m. Sept. 21. Continuous live video of the Artemis I rocket and spacecraft at Launch Pad 39B remains available on the Kennedy Newsroom YouTube Channel.”


UPDATE from Sept. 12th, 2022 — “NASA Adjusts Dates for Artemis I Cryogenic Demonstration Test and Launch; Progress at Pad Continues”

At 6:41 pm EDT/4:11 am IST — “NASA has adjusted the targeted dates for a cryogenic demonstration test and to the next launch opportunities for Artemis I, the first integrated flight test of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft beyond the Moon. The agency will conduct the demonstration test no earlier than Wednesday, Sept. 21, and has updated its request for a launch opportunity Sept. 27, with a potential backup opportunity of Oct. 2 under review.”

“The updated dates represent careful consideration of multiple logistical topics, including the additional value of having more time to prepare for the cryogenic demonstration test, and subsequently more time to prepare for the launch. The dates also allow managers to ensure teams have enough rest and to replenish supplies of cryogenic propellants.”

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“NASA and SpaceX also continue to target no earlier than 12:45 p.m. EDT Monday, Oct. 3, for the launch of the agency’s Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station. Teams are working the upcoming commercial crew launch in parallel to the Artemis I planning and both launch schedules will continue to be assessed over the coming weeks. NASA and SpaceX will review the Artemis I and Crew-5 prelaunch processing milestones to understand any potential impacts. The agency’s Crew-4 return will continue to be planned following a short handover on the space station with Crew-5.”

“Over the weekend, Artemis I teams completed repair work to the area of a hydrogen leak, reconnecting the ground- and rocket-side plates on the quick disconnect for the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line where two seals were replaced last week. This week, teams will conduct tests at ambient conditions to ensure there is a tight bond between the two plates before testing again during the cryogenic tanking demonstration, and begin preparations for the test. During the demonstration, launch controllers will load supercold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen into the core stage and interim cryogenic propulsion stage of the SLS rocket. The demonstration will allow teams to confirm the hydrogen leak has been repaired, evaluate updated propellant loading procedures designed to reduce thermal and pressure-related stress on the system, conduct a kick-start bleed test, and evaluate pre-pressurization procedures.”

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“NASA is continuing to respect the Eastern Range’s process for review of the agency’s request for an extension of the current testing requirement for the flight termination system and is providing additional information and data as needed. In parallel, the agency is continuing preparations for the cryogenic demonstration test and potential launch opportunities, should the request be approved.”

Specific times for the potential launch opportunities are as follows:

  • Sept 27: 70-minute launch window opens at 11:37 am EDT; landing on Nov. 5
  • Under review – Oct. 2: 109-minute launch window opens at 2:52 pm; landing on Nov. 11

UPDATE from Sept. 9th, 2022 — “Teams Replace Seals on Artemis I Moon Rocket, Prepare for Tanking Test”

At 5:10 pm EDT/2:40 am IST — “After disconnecting the ground and rocket-side plates on the interface, called a quick disconnect, for the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line, teams have replaced the seals on the Space Launch System rocket’s core stage associated with the liquid hydrogen leak detected during the Artemis I launch attempt Sept. 3.”

“Both the 8-inch line used to fill and drain liquid hydrogen from the core stage and the 4-inch bleed line used to redirect some of the propellant during tanking operations were removed and replaced this week.”

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“Coming up, technicians will reconnect the umbilical plates and perform inspections over the weekend before preparing for a tanking demonstration as soon as Saturday, Sept. 17. This demonstration will allow engineers to check the new seals under cryogenic, or supercold, conditions as expected on launch day and before proceeding to the next launch attempt.”

“During the operation, teams will practice loading liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen in the rocket’s core stage and interim cryogenic propulsion stage and getting to a stable replenish state for both propellants. Teams will confirm the leak has been repaired and also perform the kick-start bleed test and a pre-pressurization test, which will validate the ground and flight hardware and software systems can perform the necessary functions required to thermally condition the engines for flight. Following the test, teams will evaluate the data along with plans for the next launch opportunity.”


UPDATE from Sept. 8th, 2022 — “Repair Work Underway, Preparations Continue for Next Launch Opportunity”

At 7:00 pm EDT/4:30 am IST — “Engineers are making progress in repairing the area where a liquid hydrogen leak was detected during the Artemis I launch attempt on Sept. 3, and NASA is preserving options for the next launch opportunity as early as Friday, Sept. 23.”

“Technicians constructed a tent-like enclosure around the work area to protect the hardware and teams from weather and other environmental conditions at Launch Pad 39B. They have disconnected the ground- and rocket-side plates on the interface, called a quick disconnect, for the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line, performed initial inspections, and began replacing two seals – one surrounding the 8-inch line used to fill and drain liquid hydrogen from the core stage, and another surrounding the 4-inch bleed line used to redirect some of the propellant during tanking operations. The SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft are in good condition while remaining at the launch pad.”

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“Once the work is complete, engineers will reconnect the plates and perform initial tests to evaluate the new seals. Teams will check the new seals under cryogenic, or supercold, conditions no earlier than Sept. 17 in which the rocket’s core stage and interim cryogenic propulsion stage will be loaded with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen to validate the repair under the conditions it would experience on launch day. Engineers are in the process of developing a full plan for the checkouts.”

“NASA has submitted a request to the Eastern Range for an extension of the current testing requirement for the flight termination system. NASA is respecting the range’s processes for review of the request, and the agency continues to provide detailed information to support a range decisions.”

“In the meantime, NASA is instructing the Artemis team to move forward with all preparations required for testing, followed by launch, including preparations to ensure adequate supplies of propellants and gases used in tanking operations, as well as flight operations planning for the mission.”

NASA has requested the following launch opportunities:

  • Sept 23: Two-hour launch window opens at 6:47 am EDT/4:17 pm IST; landing on Oct. 18
  • Sept. 27: 70-minute launch window opens at 11:37 am EDT/9:07 pm IST; landing on Nov. 5

“NASA’s teams internally are preparing to support additional dates in the event flexibility is required. The agency will evaluate and adjust launch opportunities and alternate dates based on progress at the pad and to align with other planned activities, including DART’s planned impact with an asteroid, the west coast launch of a government payload, and the launch of Crew-5 to the International Space Station.”

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UPDATES from Sept. 8th, 2022

At 6:35 pm EDT/4:05 am IST — NASA preparing for Artemis I SLS moon rocket launch today at 11 am EDT (15:00 UTC)/8:30 pm IST. We’ll be adding rocket launch updates to this post as soon as we get it from NASA’s Twitter handler.


Updates from Sept. 6, 2022

At 6:31 pm EDT/4:01 am IST — “After standing down on the Artemis I launch attempt Saturday, Sept. 3 due to a hydrogen leak, teams have decided to replace the seal on an interface, called the quick disconnect, between the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line on the mobile launcher and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket while at the launch pad.”

“Performing the work at the pad requires technicians to set up an enclosure around the work area to protect the hardware from the weather and other environmental conditions, but enables engineers to test the repair under cryogenic, or supercold, conditions. Performing the work at the pad also allows teams to gather as much data as possible to understand the cause of the issue. Teams may return the rocket to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to perform additional work that does not require use of the cryogenic facilities available only at the pad.”

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“To meet the current requirement by the Eastern Range for the certification on the flight termination system, NASA would need to roll the rocket and spacecraft back to the VAB before the next launch attempt to reset the system’s batteries.”

“Additionally, teams will also check plate coverings on other umbilical interfaces to ensure there are no leaks present at those locations. With seven main umbilical lines, each line may have multiple connection points.”


Coverage from Sept. 3rd, 2022

At 7:24 am EDT/4:54 pm IST — “Engineers detected a liquid hydrogen leak in a quick disconnect cavity and have stopped flowing the propellant to the core stage while they troubleshoot. Launch controllers are attempting to warm up the quick disconnect to attempt to reseat it to get a tight seal. Liquid oxygen flow is continuing.”

At 8:09 am EDT/5:39 pm IST — “Launch controllers have resumed flow of liquid hydrogen to the core stage after warming up a quick disconnect in the engine section where a hydrogen leak was detected in the cavity between the ground and flight side plates of the quick disconnect. Teams warmed up the quick disconnect to attempt to reseat it and set a proper seal.”

At 8:53 am EDT/6:23 pm IST — “As engineers increased the pressure on the flow of liquid hydrogen into the core stage, a 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.”

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At 9:23 am EDT/6:53 pm IST — “Launch controllers have started flowing liquid hydrogen to the core stage again after troubleshooting the reoccurrence of a leak. This time engineers attempted to reseat the seal in a quick disconnect cavity where the leak occurred by applying pressure to it with helium.”

At 9:36 am EDT/7:06 pm IST — “A liquid hydrogen leak has reoccurred again in a cavity between the ground and flight side plates of a quick disconnect in the engine section. Teams are discussing additional troubleshooting efforts.”

At 10:12 am EDT/7:42 pm IST — “Engineers are continuing troubleshooting efforts to address a liquid hydrogen leak in a cavity in the quick disconnect where the flight side and ground side plates join. They once again will attempt to warm up the quick disconnect to try to reset the seal.”

“The liquid oxygen tank of the core stage is full and is being replenished as some of the super cooled propellant boils off.”

At 10:18 am EDT/7:48 pm IST — “After warming up the area of the liquid hydrogen leak, engineers are once again flowing liquid hydrogen to the core stage.”

At 10:28 am EDT/7:58 pm IST — “After the third troubleshooting attempt, the liquid hydrogen leak has occurred again. Teams are discussing next steps.”

BIG UPDATE at 11:22 am EDT/8:52 IST — The launch has been postponed again at approx. 11:17 a.m. EDT/8:74 pm IST due to a leak supply side of the 8-inch quick disconnect while attempting to transfer fuel to the rocket.

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“Teams encountered a liquid hydrogen leak while loading the propellant into the core stage of the Space Launch System rocket. Multiple troubleshooting efforts to address the area of the leak by reseating a seal in the quick disconnect where liquid hydrogen is fed into the rocket did not fix the issue. Engineers are continuing to gather additional data.”

“After standing down on today’s Artemis I launch attempt when engineers could not overcome a hydrogen leak in a quick disconnect, an interface between the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, mission managers met and decided they will forego additional launch attempts in early September.”

“Over the next several days, teams will establish access to the area of the leak at Launch Pad 39B, and in parallel conduct a schedule 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.”

“To meet the requirement by the Eastern Range for the certification on the flight termination system, currently set at 25 days, NASA will need to roll the rocket and spacecraft back to the VAB before the next launch attempt to reset the system’s batteries. The flight termination system is required on all rockets to protect public safety.”

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“During today’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 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. While the rocket remained safe and it is too early to tell whether the bump in pressurization contributed to the cause of the leaky seal, engineers are examining the issue.”

“Because of the complex orbital mechanics involved in launching to the Moon, NASA would have had to launch Artemis I by Tuesday, Sept. 6 as part of the current launch period. View a list of launch windows here.”

See the latest tweets from NASA:


UPDATE from Sept. 2nd, 2022

Following the Artemis I pre-launch briefing, meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force Space Launch Delta 45 predict a 60% chance of favorable weather conditions at the beginning of the two-hour launch window that opens at 2:17 p.m. EDT Sept 3, increasing to an 80% chance of favorable weather conditions toward the later part of the window. The primary weather concern for the two-hour launch window remains scattered rain showers. The weather guidelines for NASA’s Artemis I flight test identify conditions to launch the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft.

“Teams will continue working their way through the countdown conducting planned health checks on SLS and Orion systems. The mission management team will meet early in the morning, Saturday, Sept. 3 and give the final determination for a “go” or “no-go” decision to begin tanking operations.”

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“The uncrewed flight test will test SLS and Orion as an integrated system, demonstrating the performance of the rocket and testing the spacecraft’s capabilities as it journeys about 40,000 miles beyond the Moon over the course of about six weeks.”

“The first in an increasingly complex series of missions, Artemis I will pave the way for long-term lunar exploration, providing the foundation for extending human presence to the Moon and beyond.”


UPDATE from Sept. 1st, 2022

The Artemis I mission management team met this afternoon to review the status of the operations and have given a “go” for a Sept. 3 launch attempt of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft. Since the previous launch attempt on Monday, Aug. 29, teams have updated procedures, practiced operations and refined timelines.

“Over the last day, teams worked to fix a leak on the tail service mast umbilical by replacing a flex-hose and a loose pressure sensor line, as the likely the source of the leak. Teams also retorqued, or tightened, the bolts surrounding that enclosure to ensure a tight seal when introducing the super-cooled propellants through those lines. While there was no leak detected at ambient temperatures, teams will continue to monitor during tanking operations.”

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“Teams will adjust the procedures to chill down the engines, also called the kick start bleed test, about 30 to 45 minutes earlier in the countdown during the liquid hydrogen fast fill phase for the core stage. This will to allow for additional time to cool the engines to appropriate temperatures for launch.”

A new tweet from NASA on Sept. 1st, 2022 at 3:45 am IST.


UPDATE from Aug. 31st, 2022, at 5:00 pm IST

NASA moves the next Artemis I rocket launch attempt to September 3rd, 2022.

Mission managers met Tuesday to discuss data and develop a forward plan to address issues that arose during an Aug. 29 launch attempt for the flight test. During that launch attempt, teams were not able to chill down the four RS-25 engines to approximately minus 420 degrees F, with engine 3 showing higher temperatures than the other engines. Teams also saw a hydrogen leak on a component of the tail service mast umbilical quick disconnect, called the purge can, and managed the leak by manually adjusting propellant flow rates.

“In the coming days, teams will modify and practice propellant loading procedures to follow a procedure similar to what was successfully performed during the Green Run at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The updated procedures would perform the chilldown test of the engines, also called the kick start bleed test, about 30 to 45 minutes earlier in the countdown during the liquid hydrogen fast fill liquid phase for the core stage.”

“Teams also are configuring platforms at Launch Pad 39B to enable engineers access to the purge can on the tail service mast umbilical. Once access is established, technicians will perform assessments and torque connection points where necessary.”

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Meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force Space Launch Delta 45 predict a 60% chance of favorable weather conditions for an Artemis I launch attempt during a two-hour window that opens at 2:17 p.m. EDT Saturday, Sept. 3. While rain showers are expected in the area, they are predicted to be sporadic during the launch window.

“Today, engineers are implementing plans approved at yesterday’s mission management team meeting to address issues that arose during a launch attempt Aug. 29. The mission management team will reconvene Thursday, Sept. 1 to review data and overall readiness — NASA subsequently will hold a status update at 6 p.m. EDT.”

The countdown for launch is scheduled to resume Saturday at 4:37 a.m., at the L-9 hour, 40 minutes are planned to hold in the countdown where managers receive a weather briefing and conduct a poll on whether to proceed with propellant loading operations. Launch controllers do not need to begin the initial 46-hour, 10-minute countdown again because many of the configurations needed for launch are already in place.

Read NASA’s tweet.


UPDATE from Sept. 29th, 2022

NASA had to postpone its preparations due to an engine bleed issue, which caused the agency to postpone the launch of its massive next-generation Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. Read NASA’s tweet.

At around 8:34 am ET/6:04 pm IST, the launch director called off the Artemis I launch attempt. The NASA Artemis mission, which seeks to return people to the Moon by 2025, includes SLS as a crucial element. The massive rocket will transport the Orion crew capsule, which is expected to launch in 2024 and carry its first humans.

“Launch controllers were continuing to evaluate why a bleed test to get the RS-25 engines on the bottom of the core stage to the proper temperature range for liftoff was not successful and ran out of time in the two-hour launch window,” the agency said in a blog post.

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At around 8:33 am ET/6:03 pm IST, the SLS was scheduled to launch, but NASA decided it would not be able to do so. The third engine’s failure to achieve the required temperature range for a launch was determined by NASA experts. According to the agency, the rocket is still in “stable, safe condition.”

The next attempt is planned for Friday, September 2nd, at 12:48 PM ET/10:18 pm IST. If the launch is successful, Orion will land in the ocean on October 11 after a 39-day journey. A third launch window will open on Monday, September 5th, if it doesn’t launch by that time.

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