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NASA Calls Off Artemis I Moon Launch For another Time: Heres Why

For the next time this week, NASA called off the launch of Artemis I on Saturday morning because of technical issues. The launch was originally planned for Aug. 29, but will now have to be rescheduled again because of fuel leak.

Saturdays launch was canceled when rocket operators sent a command to fill the rockets tank, and an alarm went off that there is a hydrogen leak. The launch team attempted several troubleshooting measures to correct the leak but was struggling to. The rocket requires liquid hydrogen, therefore the leak should be sealed before its launch.

Prior to the first mission attempt, former NASA space shuttle program director, Wayne Hale, predicted uncertainty concerning the launch.

I dont desire to be a Debbie downer but I rate the probability of #Artemis1 launch on Monday at about 50/50 not counting weather. Its the initial launch of a fresh complex rocket and you can find likely still bugs to be exercised. Sorry if which makes folks upset but far better be realistic, Hale tweeted on Aug. 27.

Artemis I is really a moon orbiting mission that will aid as a test for if the brand new rocket technology can safely accommodate astronauts in the next missions that NASA has planned to span another many years to revitalize human exploration of the moon and Mars.

Launch attempts requiring several tries aren’t uncommon and generally err privately of caution. Space reporter Kenneth Chang compared Artemis I to a 2009 NASA mission with the Endeavor rocket that has been only successful on its sixth attempt.

Why was the initial Artemis I launch postponed ?

The rocket found in Artemis I, called Space Launch System, may be the most effective rocket NASA has yet to build up, and is fueled by burning roughly three million liters of liquid hydrogen and oxygen in four large engines within the rocket.

The engines have to be chilled through the countdown to avoid something shock from the launch and on Aug. 29 prior to the initial planned launch, a temperature reading indicated that certain of the engines wasnt cold enough. A fuel leak linked to hydrogen appeared through the first launch attempt too, a concern that NASA experienced while practicing protocols for the rocket launch back the spring.

Lightning strikes and stormy weather at the launch site in Cape Canaveral, Fla. appeared Saturday, but NASA officials said they didnt think it could cause any interference. Ultimately it had been the technical concerns with the engines that delayed the launch.

Well go when its ready. We dont go until then, especially now on a test flight because were likely to stress this, and test drive it, and test that heat shield and make certain its before we put four humans through to the very best of it, NASA administrator, Bill Nelson, said following the second Artemis I launch was canceled.

When may be the launch likely to happen now?

Although NASA gets the possibility to try launching Artemis I again on Sept. 5 or Sept. 6, the agency doesnt feel prepared for launch using one of the days. At a press conference on Saturday afternoon, Nelson along with other NASA officials shared that the rockets team will continue working diligently to correct the leak and a safe, full repair is their priority.

It had been a much bigger leak, Nelson said. The techniques that people applied to Mondayfor this magnitude of leakwere not employed in our favor.

NASA will reassess the rockets condition and discuss a potential launch date in a few days, that will likely not be until October, at the initial, if you find a window with optimal climate.

Before next launch attempt, the rocket should be rolled from the launch pad, to the automobile Assembly Building (VAB), NASAs engineering building where in fact the rocket was assembled. The pad and VAB are both in the Kennedy Space Center complex.

Artemis I’ll not be carrying any passengers but will test the rockets safety for another crew, along with carrying 10 small satellites to get scientific and technical information for potential discoveries. NASA has expressed great optimism concerning the three-part Artemis program, named to check the famous Apollo program.

With #Artemis, @NASA will land the initial woman and first person of color on the Moon. Take another giant leap around, NASA has written on its Twitter profile.

E mail us at letters@time.com.

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