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NASA's moon rocket, spacecraft return for repair after scrubbed test

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NASA's moon rocket, spacecraft return for repair after scrubbed test
NASA's SLS Booster rolls back to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, headed for repairs to the rocket and its mobile launch platform after multiple cancelled tests in April. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

April 26 (UPI) -- NASA's Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission arrived safely at Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building in Florida, the agency said Tuesday.

The SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft arrived at the assembly building after a 10-hour journey from launch pad 39B that began Monday morning, NASA confirmed.

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Crews will now extend the work platforms to allow access to SLS and Orion.

Over the next few weeks, NASA teams will work on replacing a faulty upper stage check valve and a small leak within the tail service mast umbilical ground plate housing.

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They also will perform additional checkouts before returning the rocket to the launch pad for the next wet dress rehearsal attempt.

The space agency's new moon rocket already has been delayed by nearly a month after the SLS failed to complete necessary pre-launch testing earlier in April.

The rocket had been scheduled to lift off between June 6 and 16. But now, NASA officials said launching during that window would be challenging after issues during the SLS's wet dress rehearsal prevented teams from finishing their system tests.

Engineers now hope to complete repairs and finish testing on the SLS moon rocket in time for liftoff of the Artemis 1 mission no earlier than August.

The unmanned mission is the first test flight of the SLS, the rocket designed by NASA to send astronauts back to the moon.

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A wet dress rehearsal is a countdown demonstration test with the integrated Orion spacecraft and SLS rocket loaded with propellant.

It was attempted three times in April, but a hydrogen leak on the mobile launcher and unreliable gaseous nitrogen service were obstacles.

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