NASA postpones second Artemis I launch attempt due to fuel leak

NASA has again delayed the launch of the Artemis I after engineers discovered another fuel leak about three hours from the start of its launch window.

It’s the second time this week the launch has been postponed after the first attempt also suffered engine leak problems two hours before its launch window.

The postponement of the launch was announced around 11:17 a.m. EST via a NASA blog post:

Crews encountered a liquid hydrogen leak while loading propellant into the core stage of the Space Launch System rocket. Multiple troubleshooting efforts to fix the area of ​​the leak by reinstalling a gasket in the quick disconnect where liquid hydrogen is introduced into the rocket did not fix the problem. Engineers continue to collect additional data.

Engineers had begun detecting issues with a liquid hydrogen leak around 7:24 a.m. Eastern Time and began troubleshooting.

After resolving the issue once, the liquid hydrogen leaking issue reoccurred about three times. Following the fourth leak announcement at 10:28 a.m. EST, the launch was canceled an hour later.

“We’ll leave when it’s ready,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said moments after the launch was canceled. “We’re not going that far, and especially now on a test flight because we’re going to point that out and test it, and test that heat shield and make sure it’s okay before we put four humans on it. .”

NASA’s Artemis 1 lunar rocket sits on Pad 39-B at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida after sunrise September 2, 2022, as seen from Titusville, Florida. (Paul Hennessy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Nelson added that the mission management meeting team was meeting on Saturday afternoon to see if there was a possibility of launching the rocket soon, or if not, to decide whether to place the rocket in the building. vehicle assembly.

If the rocket is placed in the assembly phase, then NASA will aim for an October launch which will most likely take place in the middle of the month.

It is still possible that the mission could launch on September 5 or 6, CNN reported.

The Artemis I was to be launched from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The stack contains both the Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft.

NASA hopes to get astronauts back to the moon by 2025. The unmanned Artemis I via Orion – which can hold four astronauts – was to circle the moon’s orbit on a mission lasting about 37 days before returning to land and crashing in the Pacific Ocean in October.

The total distance of the mission is approximately 1.3 million miles.

NASA Inspector General Paul Martin told Congress earlier this year that the estimated cost of each Artemis mission was about $4.1 billion, Breitbart News reported.

The last time humans set foot on the Moon was in December 1972, on the Apollo 17 project.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.


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