NASA delays SLS Moon rocket test due to safety concerns

NASA has delayed a critical test of its next generation.

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On Sunday, the agency had planned to fuel the rocket as part of a “wet dress rehearsal” designed to replicate the launch countdown process for its next launch later this year. Shortly after 12 pm ET, NASA announced that it was canceling the test due to a problem with the rocket’s mobile launch pad

Before NASA staff began loading the spacecraft with 700,000 gallons of liquid propellant, the agency discovered that a system on the launcher, vital to the rocket’s safety, had failed after it lost the ability to pressurize the platform. . “The fans are necessary to provide positive pressure to the enclosed areas inside the mobile launcher and prevent the ingress of dangerous gases,” NASA said . “Technicians cannot safely proceed with loading propellants into the rocket’s core stage and interim cryogenic propulsion stage without this capability.”

 

NASA could try the test again on April 4, although that will depend on several factors, including fuel availability. The agency said it would hold a news conference later today to discuss its plan. A successful test would mark an important milestone for NASA. It has spent a decade and more than $23 billion developing the Space Launch System, and the rocket is the centerpiece of many of NASA’s plans for the Moon and beyond.