The launch of NASA’s Artemis “Mega Moon” rocket was delayed for more than a month, likely in mid-October, after the second launch attempt on Saturday (September 3) was called off due to an engine leak.
the giant Artemis One rocket – made up of the Orion capsule located atop the 30-story Space Launch System (SLS) – will be returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building, and the next launch window won’t open until at least early October, NASA announced.
A crowd of about 400,000 people attended to watch the launch of an unmanned Artemis 1 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday.
But as the sun Rising above Launch Pad 39B – where the rocket was being loaded with supercooled liquid hydrogen fuel – an alarm went off to alert engineers that there was a gap in the seal of one of the rocket’s engines through which the fuel was leaking.
NASA said engineers tried and failed to plug the leak three times, but soon realized there was no quick fix at hand.
After the launch was called off, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said the next launch window for the rocket would open in early October, but since other missions will be prioritized over Artemis 1, a third launch attempt will likely fall in the middle of the month.
The missile was preparing to embark on the first of two test flights that would pave the way for the crew the moon Landing in early 2025, marking humanity’s first return flight the moon Since 1972 and indicating NASA’s intent to establish a long-term presence there.
We go when we’re ready,” Nelson said. “We’re not going until then, especially now on a test ride, because we’re going to stress this and test it, test the heat shield, and make sure it’s right before we put four people on top he-she.”
Both attempts to launch Artemis 1 have been canceled due to technical issues.
NASA announced that it had fixed the problem, which the agency said was caused by a faulty sensor that incorrectly reported the temperature inside the engine as being much higher, and much further away from flight readiness, than it actually was.
The reason for the Cancel second attemptThe hydrogen fuel leak from one of the rocket’s primary stage engines was much more dangerous, requiring a back-up to fix it.
The Artemis 1 mission, which will send the Orion capsule up to 40,000 miles behind the moon and back, is part of NASA’s larger Artemis program. Artemis 1 will follow the Artemis 2 and Artemis 3 missions in 2024 and 2025/2026 respectively.
Artemis 2 will do the same flight as Artemis 1, but with a crew of four, and Artemis 3 will send the first woman and first person of color to land on the Moon, on the Moon’s south pole.
Nelson said the delay in the first launch would not affect the rest of the program’s schedule.
Technical difficulties for NASA’s moon rocket began months before the scheduled launch.
During a wet clothes rehearsal in April, a faulty helium valve and a leak of liquid hydrogen prevented the rocket from preparing to flash point, Live Science previously reported.
This led NASA, concerned about additional delays, to launch the rocket without fully pre-testing the assembled rocket engines. But the delays came nonetheless.
The setback will increase NASA’s scrutiny of the inflated price tag for the Artemis program.
Since it began in 2017, Artemis has already cost more than $40 billion to develop and is expected to reach $93 billion by the end of 2025, according to NASA’s Office of Inspector General Paul Martin, the space agency’s internal auditor.
“Given our estimate of a $4.1 billion cost per launch for the SLS/Orion system for at least four Artemis missions, NASA should accelerate its efforts to identify ways to make its Artemis-related programs more affordable,” Martin said in his book. Testimony of March 1 before the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics.
Otherwise, reliance on such an expensive, heavy, single-use missile system would, in our view, dampen, if not derail, NASA’s ability to maintain its long-range human exploration goals for the Moon and Mars. “
Artemis mission director Mike Sarafin told reporters that NASA engineers are deeply interested in the launch of the rocket because of its critical role in future space operations.
“This is very hard work,” Sarafin said. “This is an initial test flight for this car. That said, we’ll fly when we’re ready. As part of this initial test flight, we’re learning about the car. We’re learning how to operate the car.”
NASA said the Artemis program is worth the high cost because it will spur technological innovation and will be a critical next step in humanity’s exploration of the universe.
“This time we won’t just touch [on the moon] and we leave after a few hours or a few days – we will come back to learn, live, work, explore and determine if there is water; so on [moon’s] Antarctica means we have rocket fuel, we have a gas station there” BBC Radio 4.
“This time we will learn how to live in that hostile environment for long periods of time, all with a purpose Mars. “
Assuming that NASA can solve the technical problems, new problems for the space agency could emerge in the form of weather problems in the Atlantic basin.
After a two-month hiatus, Atlantic this year hurricane season Work began with two new storms – Daniel and Earl. If more comes, the weather will add a new dimension to the unpredictability of the October trip.
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