CAPE FLORIDA'S CANAVERAL (AP) — In order to test for leaks prior to a launch attempt as early as next week, NASA placed fuel into its moon rocket on Wednesday.
The day-long demonstration will show if the 322-foot (98-meter) rocket is prepared for its maiden test flight, a mannequin-only voyage to orbit the moon.
In addition to earlier countdown testing, managers want to confirm that the hydrogen leaks that ruined the first two launch attempts have been fixed.
NASA's limit was more than doubled when hydrogen escaped during the countdown earlier this month.
The crew is really motivated to pass this test. From Launch Control at the Kennedy Space Center, NASA engineer Wes Mosedale observed, "Everyone's been working hard these last several weeks.
Wednesday's goal was to inject about 1 million gallons (4 million litres) of liquid into the rocket with little to no leaks.