Why NASA canceled Monday’s Moon rocket launch and what’s next

Why NASA canceled Monday’s Moon rocket launch and what’s next

Why NASA canceled Monday’s Moon rocket launch and what’s next

The launch of NASA’s massive new Moon rocket scheduled for Monday morning was canceled due to a problem with one of the rocket’s engines, but the space agency can try again as soon as September 2.

The two-hour launch window for NASA’s Artemis I mission opened at 8:33 a.m. Monday morning, and NASA’s ground operations crew began filling the massive Space Launch System (SLS) rocket at 01:00. : 14 while sitting on the Kennedy Space Center launch pad in Florida. NASA began the countdown to launch on Saturday, Aug.27, but the count went into an extended suspension before the launch window opened due to the engine problem.

The problem, according to NASA updates, began when controllers began the engine bleed test, which is to allow some of the cryogenic propellants from the SLS rocket to flow into the main engines to cool them enough to handle the liquid oxygen flows. and liquid hydrogen needed for launch.

“Engine 3 is not properly conditioned through the purging process and the engineers are fixing the problems,” NASA officials wrote in a blog post Monday morning at 6:23 am.

By 8:36 am EDT, NASA officially canceled the launch due to the engine bleeding problem.

“We don’t launch until it’s right,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement on the decision to cancel the pitch. “It’s just illustrative that this is a very complicated machine, a very complicated system and all of these things have to work. You don’t want to light the candle until it’s ready.

The engine bleed test is one of the procedures NASA planned to check during a “costume test” for the launch, in which the space agency rolled the SLS onto the launch pad and practiced filling it. of fuel and perform a simulated countdown. But after four failed attempts to complete all aspects of the wet suit tests, NASA decided to move forward without completing every aspect of the test in June.

Anticipating the possibility of unpredictable problems cleaning up the first launch, NASA already has two backup launch windows in mind for a subsequent launch attempt. The first backup start window opens at 12:48 pm EDT on Friday, September 2, and the second backup start window opens at 5:12 pm EDT.

NASA has yet to announce which, if any of the reserve launch dates, the space agency will try again to launch Artemis I, as engineers are still evaluating the engine bleeding problem, as well as some cracks that have appeared in the insulation that covers the exterior of the central stage of the SLS rocket.

Artemis I, when it flies, will be the first test flight for the new SLS rocket and a major test for the Orion spacecraft it carries. Together, the launch vehicle and spacecraft are the cornerstones of NASA’s new Artemis Moon program, which aims to land humans on the moon again by 2025 with the Artemis III mission.

Artemis II, a manned lunar flyby, is scheduled for May 2024 and the Artemis I mission is an unmanned test for a mission like Artemis II. Upon launch, whether it is September 2 or 5 or another date, Artemis I will power Orion on a 42-day lunar flyby mission that will allow NASA to collect important data on the performance of the rocket and spacecraft. before the first humans board the new vehicles.

The plan, assuming that Artemis I, and then Artemis II and III, fly as planned, predicts that NASA astronauts will build space stations on and around the Moon and spend a lot of time on the lunar surface over the next decade in preparation for a manned mission. on Mars in 2040.

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