Artemis mission: why it is so complicated to launch a rocket

Artemis mission: why it is so complicated to launch a rocket

Artemis mission: why it is so complicated to launch a rocket

Artemis I will not leave today.  But why is it so complicated to launch a rocket in 2022?
Artemis I will not leave today. But why is it so complicated to launch a rocket in 2022? (© NASA / Eric Bordelon)

Will the Orion capsule of the Artemis I mission depart one day?

The NASA mega rocket was supposed to take off on Monday, August 29, 2022 at 2:33 pm French time. Eventually, the launch was canceled due to a leak in the launch station’s # 3 engine.

The postponement date fell this Saturday, September 3, 2022, at 20:17 French time.

A leak detected

However, a new problem has come to disrupt the party.

The teams found a leak of liquid hydrogen while loading the propellant into the central phase of the rocket launch system. Multiple troubleshooting attempts to address the leak area by reinstalling a gasket in the quick disconnect where liquid hydrogen is injected into the rocket have not solved the problem.

NASA

Thus, the Artemis I I will not leave this Saturday.

“Ultra-sophisticated hydraulics”

“Remind everyone how space is complex. It’s the right decision, ”commented Josef Aschbacher, Director General of the European Space Agency.

Video: currently on Actu

But then one wonders how it is possible that in 1969 engineers with knowledge of the facts were able to successfully take off for the moon, while in 2022, 53 years later, we can no longer take it.

“Those of today are no less good than those of 1969”, reassures Gilles Dawidowicz, vice president of the French astronomical society and chairman of the planetology commission, contacted by news.fr. But they find themselves forced to tinker with fairly old components in reality “.

Explain that we thought it would be a good idea to reuse engines that have already flown. “We thought it cost less, but sometimes doing the new with the old doesn’t work,” she notes.

Beyond that, a space launch station like the one that was supposed to launch Orion is “miles of piping. Ultra-sophisticated hydraulics, in which liters of hydrogen and liquid oxygen circulate, respectively at -217 ° C and -181 ° C”.

“With the temperature differential and the expansion exerted, we are witnessing many phenomena of expansion and retraction of the structures. This can damage the machinery, and compromise the entire operation, ”explains the chairman of the planetology commission.

View the billions of euros that such a launch costsdo not miss it.

Mainly because of the 22 people who lost their lives during space travel, only three were killed beyond the limits of the atmosphere. Most accidents happen during take off.

We therefore understand that NASA does not want to take no risk for launch.

When is the new test?

Difficult to predict at the moment. As the experts of the National Center for Space Studies explained during the live broadcast during the 1uh launch, “the stars move in the sky and the rendezvous can only take place when the objects [stellaires] are positioned correctly.

At the time of writing these lines, NASA has not communicated a postponement date.

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