The launch of NASA’s Artemis I mega-rocket was again canceled due to a fuel leak

The launch of NASA’s Artemis I mega-rocket was again canceled due to a fuel leak

The launch of NASA’s Artemis I mega-rocket was again canceled due to a fuel leak

NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft on board is seen atop the mobile launcher at Launch Pad 39B on Monday, August 29, 2022.

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket carrying the Orion spacecraft is seen atop the mobile launcher at Launch Pad 39B on August 29, 2022.Nasa / Joel Kowsky

  • The second launch attempt on NASA’s Space Launch System rocket was delayed on Saturday due to a leak of liquid hydrogen.

  • Artemis I is an unmanned test flight that will lay the foundations for future Artemis missions with astronauts.

  • NASA has not yet said when it plans to make another launch attempt.

The launch of NASA’s long-awaited Artemis I moon rocket was postponed on Saturday after the launch team encountered power problems.

At 7:15 am ET, a leak occurred as engineers increased the pressure on the flow of liquid hydrogen into the center stage.

“The teams found a leak of liquid hydrogen while loading the propellant into the central stage of the Space Launch System rocket,” NASA said in a blog post. “Multiple troubleshooting attempts to address the leak area by repositioning a seal in the quick disconnect where liquid hydrogen is injected into the rocket have not solved the problem.”

After the troubleshooting attempts were unsuccessful, Artemis’ launch director canceled the launch.

NASA has not yet said when it plans to make another launch attempt.

This is the second scrub – NASA’s term for canceling a launch on a specific day – for the mega moon rocket. During NASA’s first launch attempt on Aug.29, sensors suggested that one of the rocket’s four RS-25 engines was not cooling to a safe temperature in time for launch.

dozens of people standing on the grass sitting on deck chairs watching the vertical rocket roll out of the high building at night

Invited guests and NASA employees watch as NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket exits the Vehicle Assembly Building, Aug.16, 2022.Nasa / Joel Kowsky

The rocket stack could be returned to the Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building, causing further delays. In August, NASA engineers tested the rocket’s flight termination system, which began a 20-day timeline for launch. If the launch is delayed beyond those 20 days, engineers will have to retire the rocket for further testing, Jeremy Parsons, deputy director of NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems, said at a press conference on Friday.

NASA engineers are also confronted with time, a common cause of launch delays. Forecasts prior to Saturday’s attempt showed 60% favorable weather conditions at the start of the launch window. “On any given day, there is about a one in three chance that we will clean up for whatever reason,” NASA meteorologist Melody Levin said in a briefing on Friday, Sept. 2. “Among these possibilities of cleaning up, there is a 50% chance that it is due to time,” Levin said.

According to the Space Coast Tourism Bureau, more than 400,000 visitors were expected to gather near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Saturday to witness the inaugural launch.

NASA's Artemis I rocket sits on launch pad 39-B at Kennedy Space Center on September 03, 2022 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

NASA’s Artemis I rocket sits on launch pad 39-B at Kennedy Space Center on September 03, 2022 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

NASA spent 17 years and about $ 50 billion developing the SLS rocket and its Orion spacecraft, according to The Planetary Society.

During the Artemis I mission, NASA aims to fly the Orion crew capsule around the moon, farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown, before heading back for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. .

There will be no people on board during the Artemis I launch. But if the spacecraft successfully completes its mission, NASA plans to put the astronauts in the Orion module for another trip around the moon during the Artemis II mission. It’s all in preparation for Artemis III, in which NASA hopes to land the first woman and first black person on the lunar surface in 2025.

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