Hydrogen Fuel Leak Cancels Artemis 1 Launch

FLORIDA - NASA made a second attempt to launch the Artemis 1 SLS on Saturday, but a hydrogen fuel leak was detected in the gas line that perplexed technicians. Several attempts were made to fix the leak before Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, the launch director determined at 11:17 am that it was time to cancel the liftoff, According to the New York Times.

NASA will need to reschedule the launch for a different day. There is a chance the rescheduled launch might happen on Monday or Tuesday, but if the division is not capable of proceeding, it will need to hold off on the launch until September or October.

Many spacecraft do not make it to space without a list of delays and failures. Another example was the initial launch of SpaceX crewed by NASA astronauts. It was to be the first time a launch had occurred since the departure of the Space Shuttle program, and the launch of the SpaceX mission had entered the last minutes of the countdown before being postponed due to bad weather. It was successfully launched 3 days later.

Hydrogen leaks have been a common denominator for grounding spaceflights in the past. Hydrogen is a potent rocket propellant. Because hydrogen is the smallest of particles, it is very troublesome to operate with, often spilling through the smallest of spaces.

Many times ruptures do not reveal themselves until the gas lines are frozen to ultracold temperatures of -423 degrees Fahrenheit, which the temperature at which hydrogen reverts to a liquid form. There are no other methods to detect this kind of spill other than during the countdown sequence when hydrogen begins streaming into the rocket.

NY Times
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