“NASA’s fourth attempt to complete a critical test of its Moon rocket achieved around 90 percent of its goals, but there’s still no firm date for the behemoth’s first flight”, officials announced Tuesday.

Recognized as the “wet dress rehearsal” because it involves loading liquid fuel, it is the last item to cross off the checklist before the Artemis-1 mission planned for this summer – which is an uncrewed lunar flight that Moon boots on the ground will ultimately follow, likely not before 2026.

Their goals were to pack fuel into the rocket’s tanks, perform a launch countdown and imitate contingency scenarios, and drain the tanks.

Three preliminary bids, starting in March, were afflicted by glitches and failed to fuel the rocket with hundreds of thousands of gallons of supercooled liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

On Monday, engineers eventually loaded up the tanks successfully. But they also confronted a new hydrogen leak problem they could not resolve.

“I would say we’re in the 90th percentile in terms of where we need to be,” Artemis mission manager Mike Sarafin notified the reporters on Tuesday.

NASA officials have frequently emphasized that “delays involving the testing of new systems was common during the Apollo and Space Shuttle era, and the issues affecting SLS are not of major concern.”

Artemis-2 is supposed to be the first crewed test, flying around the Moon without landing, whereas Artemis-3 will have the first woman and first person of color to touch down on the lunar south pole.

NASA expects to build a durable presence on the Moon, and utilize it as a proving ground for technologies essential for a Mars mission, someday in the 2030s.

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Alice is the Chief Editor with relevant experience of three years, Alice has founded Galaxy Reporters. She has a keen interest in the field of science. She is the pillar behind the in-depth coverages of Science news. She has written several papers and high-level documentation.

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