Another test or launch? NASA weighs next steps for Artemis

Latest wet dress rehearsal reaches more milestones, sees new issues

Cutting off the final countdown about 20 seconds short of what was planned, NASA still called Monday’s wet dress rehearsal of the Space Launch System rocket a success, based on reaching other objectives.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – Cutting off the final countdown about 20 seconds short of what was planned, NASA still called Monday’s wet dress rehearsal of the Space Launch System rocket a success, based on reaching other objectives.

For the first time in all its tests at Launch Pad 39B since the spring, NASA said it fully fueled its most powerful rocket ever, the 322-foot SLS.

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Monday’s testing didn’t wrap up until after 7:30 p.m.

Artemis I mission leaders spoke to reporters during a teleconference Tuesday.

“A long day for the team, but I think it was a very successful day,” said launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson. “Accomplished a majority of the objectives we had not completed in the prior wet dress.”

Blackwell-Thompson said another hydrogen leak was discovered Monday, like in an earlier test, and that issue will need a closer look.

Still, the mission managers said SLS is closer to launch than ever before. However, in Tuesday’s teleconference NASA could not answer if that first launch will be delayed even further.

August was the most recent launch target.

“I think there’s a huge amount of pressure on the team, but I also think they’re professionals,” said CBS News space analyst Bill Harwood. “They’re going to look at all the data, figure out what’s the best path forward.”

NASA said making a final decision on whether another test will be needed should take a couple of days.

Stick with News 6 and ClickOrlando.com for updates.


About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.