After disconnecting the ground and rocket-side plates on the interface, called a quick disconnect, for the liquid hydrogen fuel feed line, teams have replaced the seals on the Space Launch System rocket’s core stage associated with the liquid hydrogen leak detected during the Artemis I launch attempt Sept. 3.
Both the 8-inch line used to fill and drain liquid hydrogen from the core stage and the 4-inch bleed line used to redirect some of the propellant during tanking operations were removed and replaced this week.
Coming up, technicians will reconnect the umbilical plates and perform inspections over the weekend before preparing for a tanking demonstration as soon as Saturday, Sept. 17. This demonstration will allow engineers to check the new seals under cryogenic, or supercold, conditions as expected on launch day and before proceeding to the next launch attempt.
During the operation, teams will practice loading liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen in the rocket’s core stage and interim cryogenic propulsion stage and getting to a stable replenish state for both propellants. Teams will confirm the leak has been repaired and also perform the kick-start bleed test and a pre-pressurization test, which will validate the ground and flight hardware and software systems can perform the necessary functions required to thermally condition the engines for flight. Following the test, teams will evaluate the data along with plans for the next launch opportunity.