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SLS Rocket No Longer Leaking, More Damage Discovered

After trying several times to complete a crucial test of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on launchpad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida back in March and April, NASA gave up and returned the mammoth rocket back to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) for repairs.
Space Launch System rocket being transported 13 photos
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That happened close to a month ago, and engineers are not nearly done completing their work, as fixing old issues only brought to surface new ones.

The main topics on the agenda were finding a fix for a leak in the tail service mast umbilical ground plate housing, and replacing the faulty upper stage check valve that caused so many issues during the wet dress rehearsal test back in March.

According to NASA, which over the weekend released an update on how things are going, the leak has been pretty much dealt with. Engineers re-tightened "the flange bolts on the tail service mast umbilical lines,” and found that now they are no longer relaxing, and chances are they’ll no longer allow hydrogen to escape during propellant loading either.

To be on the safe side, and even if no leaks were detected in this case, they also relocated a heavy cantilevered filter, tasked with filtering contaminants in the gaseous helium running through the rocket’s drain assist purge line.

As for the helium check valve on the interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS), that’s been replaced too, but in the process of doing that rocket scientists “found a damaged rubber O-ring seal in the flight side of the quick disconnect” that separates the ICPS from the launcher. So far, the teams working on the rocket were unable to determine the cause of this issue.

It’s unclear at this time how much longer it will take before the SLS is ready to have another go at the history books. NASA says it will “announce dates for rolling out to the pad and the next wet dress rehearsal attempt once work inside the VAB and testing of the nitrogen system are nearing completion.”

 
 
 
 
 

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