NASA shares more information regarding its ongoing work and issues that have arisen in previous Space Launch System rocket tests. NASA has described the issues as minor problems rather than major ones. They occurred during attempts to do a wet rehearsal where fuel was loaded into the rocket.
The first problem was the leakage of liquid hydrogen fuel. This was fixed by tightening some bolts in the umbilical, which carries fuel from the mobile rocket platform to the rocket. NASA claims that engineers have verified that bolts are properly tightened and will continue to hold their seal during fueling operations. To be safe, engineers moved the filter that removes contaminants from fuel to another location. Although this filter has not been leaking in the past, it was moved to ensure that it doesn’t leak again.
Another issue that the team is working on is a helium valve that became stuck due to an errant piece rubber. Although the engineers were unsure of where the rubber came from, they discovered that an O-ring seal had become loose and became stuck inside the valve. Although the engineers were able replace any hardware that was damaged, it is not yet clear what caused the O’ring to break. The team will continue to investigate the cause and then test the solution by repressurizing it.
Other work includes checking if the rocket was damaged during a lightning strike and thunder storm. However, it wasn’t as there are towers at the launch pad which channel lightning away from the rocket in order to prevent any damage. NASA also requested that its supplier of gaseous Nitrogen used in the test upgrade their facilities in time to allow for the next attempt.
NASA previously stated that it doesn’t expect to do the wet dress rehearsal once again until June. In the update, the agency clarified that “NASA will announce dates for rolling out to the pad and the next wet dress rehearsal attempt once work inside the [Vehicle Assembly Building] and testing of the nitrogen s