NASA continues to delay its final test of the SLS rocket for the Artemis missions to the Moon

The agency now plans to conduct a modified “wet dress rehearsal” of the SLS on April 12.


NASA has once again delayed the final test of its next SLS rocket .

The agency spent much of last weekend conducting a “wet dress rehearsal” of the Artemis 1 mission ‘s engine to the Moon .

The test was designed to replicate the mission’s countdown procedure and was mostly proceeding according to plan until NASA encountered a problem with the SLS ‘s mobile launch pad .

Mistakes in the final stretch

The problem prevented the agency from safely loading the rocket with liquid propellant, and NASA delayed critical testing to fix the problem.

It had initially planned to resume testing on April 9 to accommodate the Ax-1 mission’s flight slot , but this mission ended up being delayed by a few days. It also announced that it would modify the test after engineers noticed a problem with a helium check valve designed to prevent gas from escaping from the SLS .

The modified test will have NASA focus primarily on fueling the rocket’s core stage , with “minimal booster operations” from its upper stage.

“Due to changes in the loading procedures required for the modified test, the wet dress rehearsal test is scheduled to resume with a call to stations on Tuesday, April 12, and the tank on Thursday, April 14,” the statement said. NASA .

Once the test is complete, NASA can finally move forward with Artemis 1 . The mission will send an unmanned Orion capsule on a flight around the Moon designed to study how travel will affect human astronauts.

The agency won’t set a date for the mission until it completes the wet dress rehearsal. If it doesn’t encounter any more hitches this week, Artemis 1 could take off in June.