At the start of Monday’s press conference, NASA said the launch team had a problem getting one of the four RS-25 engines to the proper temperature for takeoff, which led to NASA delaying the Artemis I launch.
“Once we got through the fuel loading process on the rocket, in both the base stage and the upper stage, they started to bleed the engine,” said Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission manager. “In our Flight Readiness review we talked about engine bleed, and we knew that was a risk on this launch campaign and it would be the first time we’ve successfully demonstrated that.”
The launch was delayed this morning when the launch team discovered a problem with the engine bleeding into the No. 3 engine. Prior to launch, super-cold liquid hydrogen is circulated through the engine to prepare it for launch. Three of the four engines performed as expected, but engine number 3 ran into a problem.
“We had a chilling problem for engine #3. We need the engine to be at cooler temperature so it doesn’t get shocked by all the cold fuel flowing through it when it starts up. So we needed a little more time and cashiers explained that.
“When the team started working on it, they also saw a problem with the vent valve on the inner tank,” he added.
“So the combination of not being able to get engine #3 to cool and then the vent valve issue they saw in the inner tank caused us to pause today and we felt like more time,” he said.
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