After two failed launch efforts, canceled due to hydrogen leaks during fueling, NASA finally got its Lockheed Martin Corp-built Artemis I to launch Wednesday morning on its multiple-week mission to the moon and back.
But not until after another hydrogen leak had to be fixed.
On Tuesday, NASA’s launch team for Artemis I was able to fuel the SLS liquid hydrogen tank relatively easily. A valve used to top off the tank, however, later began leaking, prompting the agency to send a so-called “red crew” of three people out to the launchpad to tighten the valve’s bolts.
That’s way too much hands-on massaging for what’s intended to demonstrate a routine launch; NASA still cannot handle liquid hydrogen fuel efficiently. Artemis, also, is another government (not just NASA) program that’s billions of (taxpayer) dollars over budget and years behind schedule.
No word yet on whether the rocket’s first stage successfully landed after it separated from the rest of the Space Launch System rocket.