FNASA called off Saturday’s launch of Artemis I due to technical difficulties for the second week in a row. A fuel leak has forced the launch to be moved back to Aug. 29 instead of originally scheduled.
Saturday’s launch was canceled when rocket operators sent a command to fill the rocket’s tank, and an alarm went off that there was a hydrogen leak. Although the launch team tried several methods to fix the problem, they were unable to do so. Because the rocket uses liquid hydrogen for its fuel, it will have to be closed before launch.
Wayne Hale was the former NASA Space Shuttle Program Director and predicted that there would be uncertainty regarding the mission before it actually happened.
“I don’t want to be a Debbie downer but I rate the chances of #Artemis1 launch on Monday at about 50/50 not counting weather. It’s the first launch of a new complex rocket and there are likely still bugs to be worked out. Sorry if that makes folks upset but best to be realistic,” Hale tweetedAugust 27, 2007.
Artemis I, a lunar orbiting mission will test whether the new rocket technology can safely accommodate astronauts on the subsequent missions NASA plans to undertake over the next few years in order to revive human exploration of Mars and the moon.
Multiple attempts are common for launch attempts and it is normal to be cautious. Kenneth Chang (Space reporter) compared Artemis I’s 2009 NASA mission to the Endeavor rocket, which was unsuccessful on its sixth attempt.
What was it that delayed the launch of Artemis I?
Space Launch System was the name given to the rocket that NASA used for Artemis I. This rocket, also called Space Launch System (Space Launch System), is the strongest NASA rocket yet developed. Space Launch System uses approximately 3 million liters each of liquid hydrogen, oxygen, and four large engines below it.
The engines need to be chilled during the countdown to prevent a system shock from the launch and on Aug. 29 before the initial planned launch, a temperature reading indicated that one of the engines wasn’t cold enough. NASA also experienced a fuel leak due to hydrogen during its first rocket launch, which was an issue they were preparing for back in spring.
Lightning strikes and stormy weather at the launch site in Cape Canaveral, Fla. appeared Saturday, but NASA officials said they didn’t think it would cause any interference. The launch was delayed by technical problems with the engines.
“We’ll go when it’s ready. We don’t go until then, especially now on a test flight because we’re going to stress this, and test it, and test that heat shield and make sure it’s right before we put four humans up on the top of it,” NASA administrator, Bill Nelson, said after the second Artemis I launch was canceled.
Is the launch scheduled for now?
NASA may have the chance to launch Artemis I on September 5th or Sept. 6. If the agency doesn’t feel prepared for launch on one of these days, they may have to wait until at least mid-October for optimal weather conditions. Nelson said that the mission’s managers are expected to release their decision for the new launch date at a press conference on Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT.
If the rocket needs to be rolled back for further repairs into the Vehicle Assembly Building, NASA’s engineering building where the rocket was assembled, this will add several weeks of delays and the launch will not likely be possible during the Sept. 5 – Sept. 6 window.
Artemis I will not be carrying any passengers but will test the rocket’s safety for a future crew, in addition to carrying 10 small satellites to collect scientific and technical information for potential discoveries. NASA is optimistic about three parts of the Artemis program. It was named in addition to the Apollo program. “With #Artemis, @NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon. Take the next giant leap with us,” NASAIt has published on Twitter.
Read More From Time