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Artemis “Wet Dress” Rehearsal paused again, for vent valve issue

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (WHNT) — Shortly before 4 p.m. CT, the Artemis I team ended the attempt at the wet dress rehearsal for Monday. In a statement released by NASA, it cited “an issue with a panel on the mobile launcher that controls the core stage vent valve.”

You can read NASA’s full statement on the matter below:

The Artemis I team has ended today’s attempt at the wet dress rehearsal test at 5 p.m. The countdown ended after partially loading liquid oxygen into the Space Launch System core stage tank. This provided the teams a valuable opportunity for training and to make sure modeled loading procedures were accurate. This was the first time using new systems at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39B. The team was able to monitor the Artemis I core stage as it was exposed to cryogenic liquids and gather data that will inform updates to propellant loading procedures.

After troubleshooting a temperature limit issue for the liquid oxygen, which delayed the countdown by several hours, the team successfully developed a new procedure for loading the liquid oxygen and filled the tank to 50 percent. Liquid oxygen is an extremely cold, or cryogenic, propellant that is maintained at minus 297 degrees Fahrenheit.

During chilldown of the lines in preparation for loading the liquid hydrogen, the teams encountered an issue with a panel on the mobile launcher that controls the core stage vent valve. The purpose of the vent valve is to relieve pressure from the core stage during tanking. Given the time to resolve the issue as teams were nearing the end of their shifts, the launch director made the call to stop the test for the day. A crew will investigate the issue at the pad, and the team will review range availability and the time needed to turn systems around before making a determination on the path forward.

The wet dress rehearsal is the last major test before launch. This test allows the team to practice propellant loading and thoroughly check out the Artemis I rocket systems as they are exposed to cryogenics.”

This is not the first delay of the wet dress rehearsal. Over the weekend, two other issues delayed the process. During a storm, four lightning strikes hit near Launch Pad 39B. One strike hit one of the lightning protection poles. Mike Sarafin, an Artemis Mission Manager, said that strike in particular, was “much stronger then the other ones that were seen.”

In a teleconference on Sunday, March 3, Sarafin said, “we had prepared for lightning strikes, as part of our mission preps.”

“We had even pre-briefed that headed into the wet dress rehearsal,” he continued.

On Sunday, there was an issue with a supply fan system used to keep hazardous gasses out of the mobile launcher. That instance also halted the rehearsal, until it had resumed on Monday morning.

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