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SLS Rocket All Locked Up Inside Now, It’ll Take Weeks to Get Out Again

A not ideal conclusion of what was supposed to be the beginning of humanity’s return to the Moon was witnessed on April 26 by the people in and around the Kennedy Space Center: the Space Launch System rocket, and the Orion capsule with it, were locked up inside the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB).
SLS meets VAB 13 photos
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That’s the same place the rocket departed in mid-March, carrying with it the hopes and dreams of engineers that the wet dress rehearsal test that was to be conducted on the pad would be a success.

It turned out to be a nightmare, and after three failed attempts to see the test fully through, NASA decided to remove the rocket from the pad and fix it before having another go at it.

The assembly arrived at VAB in the early hours of the day, after a 10-hour journey to cover the distance from the pad. It will not be taken out again for weeks, possibly even months, as engineers will try and fix what went wrong.

Over the following days, rocket scientists will arrange the work platforms around the rocket and the capsule it carries. Once that is done, they will spend weeks replacing the faulty upper stage check valve that caused so many issues, finding a fix for a leak in the tail service mast umbilical ground plate housing, and performing other checks to see if there’s something that might have been overlooked.

At the time of writing, NASA does not say when the SLS is expected to roll out again, but the delays to the Artemis program will quickly begin to pile up. That’s because once the fixes are ready, weeks from now, the rocket will once again roll to the pad, to perform the test, then back to VAB for first launch preparations, and out to the pad again for the actual mission. And all of that takes time.


 
 
 
 
 

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