What went wrong with Nasa’s mega Moon rocket?

The space agency will take its enormous rocket back to the garage for repairs

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Nasa is taking its mega Moon rocket back to the garage to make a few repairs, after failing to complete a countdown test.

The space agency had rolled out the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft to a launch pad in Florida last month for fuelling and a practice launch countdown, in a process known as a wet dress rehearsal.

However, after three failed attempts, the rocket will be taken back to the Vehicle Assembly Building, to fix a faulty helium check valve and the source of a hydrogen leak.

These recent events mean that the much-anticipated launch of the SLS could be further delayed. The rocket was scheduled for a test flight around the Moon this summer as part of the Artemis 1 mission.

“Nasa will take advantage of the opportunity to roll SLS and Orion back to the Vehicle Assembly Building to replace a faulty upper stage check valve and a small leak on the tail service mast umbilical,” the space agency said on its website on Sunday.

“During that time, the agency also will review schedules and options to demonstrate propellant loading operations ahead of launch.”

While the rocket did make some progress during the test, the complete fuelling and pressurisation did not take place, as well as the countdown sequence that allows engineers to measure important details.

Nasa will offer updates on the next dress rehearsal test on Monday.

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Updated: April 17, 2022, 6:29 AM
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