NASA Moon Rocket Ready For Critical Countdown Test Sunday NightA NASA moon rocket is ready for a critical countdown test Sunday night‚ just two days before the launch. A leak in one of the rocket's fuel lines has delayed previous attempts to conduct the dress rehearsal. Despite these problems‚ the rocket is powered up and ready to perform the test‚ which will last about nine minutes. The two-day dress rehearsal will not be covered by the news media. Instead‚ NASA officials will provide sanctioned updates through the agency's website and social media accounts. Reporters are not allowed to listen in on the countdown activities‚ so this is a good opportunity to get the latest scoop.
CAPE CANAVERAL (Fla.) -- NASA fueled the huge moon rocket Monday. The critical countdown test went ahead despite a fuel leak. NASA had their fourth attempt at the important dress rehearsal. This marked the final major milestone prior to the long-awaited moon rocket launch. Previous attempts were foiled by fuel leaks‚ stuck valves‚ and other technical problems. Kennedy Space Center almost had to cancel Monday's testing due to another leakage‚ this one in the external fuel line. NASA management decided to continue the countdown test. Charlie Blackwell Thompson‚ Launch Director‚ said that they were eager to find out how their team did and how the hardware performed. Both performed well. To validate the procedures and systems‚ engineers wanted to go down to 9 seconds. It stopped at 29 seconds. Derrol Nail‚ a NASA spokesperson said that it was not immediately clear why the countdown had stopped. An earlier launch of the Space Launch System (or SLS) 322-foot‚ 98-meter rocket contained nearly one million gallons super-cold liquid hydrogen‚ and oxygen. Due to delays in testing‚ the launch of the Orion capsule carrying a full Orion capsule around the moon has been delayed until August. Before astronauts can climb aboard‚ this test flight is vital. Blackwell-Thompson stated that it wasn't too soon to predict what NASA might do next. A second SLS flight was planned for 2024 and would take a crew to the moon. A third mission‚ which would be launched no later than 2025‚ would see astronauts landing on the moon. In 1972‚ during NASA's Apollo Program‚ the last time astronauts walked on moon was in 1972. Artemis is Apollo's Greek twin sister. ___ Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education provides support to the Associated Press Health and Science Department. All content is the sole responsibility of the Associated Press.