That’s when NASA decided to start running the test once more, now that the leaks and other problems experienced during the first attempt a couple of months ago have been fixed. The upcoming procedure will begin on Saturday, June 18, with call to stations, while tanking operations are scheduled for June 20.
Just as before, during the test “the launch teams will rehearse operations to load propellant into the rocket’s tanks, conduct a full launch countdown, demonstrate the ability to recycle the countdown clock, and drain the tanks to give them an opportunity to practice the timelines and procedures they will use for launch.”
NASA will stream the entire procedure live on the usual platforms, with streaming starting well in advance, on June 15.
As per the outlined procedure, at 7 a.m EDT on June 20 it will be decided if the tanking (fueling up of the thing) is a go or a no go. The actual two-hour test window opens at 2:40 p.m., but it’ll probably not be a flowing countdown the kind of which we’re used to from actual launches – rocket scientists reserve the right to hold the timer “as necessary to verify conditions before resuming the countdown, or extend beyond the test window, if needed and resources allow.”
So, good luck, SLS, and here’s to hoping next time we hear of you, you’re on the way back to the Vehicle Assembly building to get ready for the first Moon mission of the Artemis program.