At the base of the Space Launch System, repair crews work to replace a seal on September 8th, 2022. | Photo by NASA / Chad Siwik

Today, NASA got its next-generation Moon rocket all tanked up with nowhere to go. Liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen fuel were loaded into the Space Launch System (SLS) today in an hours-long test of its troublesome fueling system.

It was what NASA called a “kinder, gentler” fueling procedure that was being tested after a hydrogen leak stymied the second launch attempt of the rocket and the Artemis I mission on September 3rd. The new procedures were “designed to transition temperature and pressures slowly during tanking to reduce the likelihood of leaks that could be caused by rapid changes in temperature or pressure,” NASA said in a blog post.

“I am extremely encouraged by the test today,” said Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, launch…

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