NASA says it will try to launch its giant moon rocket again in late September

NASA says it will try to launch its giant moon rocket again in late September

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

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

  • NASA officials said the next attempt to launch Artemis I It will be September 27, at the earliest.

  • A second launch attempt for a NASA Space Launch System rocket was delayed due to a liquid hydrogen leak.

  • Artemis I is an uncrewed test flight that will set the stage for future Artemis missions with astronauts.

NASA is targeting Sept. 27 as the next launch attempt for its Artemis I moon rocket, with Oct. 2 as a possible backup date, NASA said Monday.

That’s if engineers can fix the hydrogen leak that halted the final launch attempt on Sept. 3, and if the rocket is allowed to stay on the launch pad without returning to Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building.

On Friday, the Artemis I crew completed hydrogen leak repairs on Launchpad 39-B at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. NASA plans to conduct fueling tests on September 21 to ensure that the source of the fuel leak is removed and that the crew is prepared for the next launch attempt.

On September 27, a 70-minute launch window is set to open at 11:37 am ET. The rocket should be flashing back to Earth on November 5. The backup launch date of October 2, which has a 109-minute launch window starting at 2:52 pm ET, is “under review,” according to NASA. If the rocket launches on October 2, it should arrive back on Earth on November 11.

The space agency also reached out to officials from the US Space Force’s Eastern Range — which reviews and approves all missions that take off from the Cape Canaveral region — to extend a battery retest requirement on the lunar rocket’s flight termination system.

The countdown clock is stopped after NASA's Artemis I rocket launch scrubs from launch pad 39-B at Kennedy Space Center on September 03, 2022 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The countdown clock is stopped after NASA’s Artemis I rocket launch scrubs from launch pad 39-B at Kennedy Space Center on September 03, 2022 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The new launch dates come after the launch of the Space Launch System and its uncrewed Orion capsule was canceled for the second time on Saturday, September 3. At 7:15 am ET, a leak occurred as engineers increased the pressure on the liquid hydrogen flow into the core stage.

“Teams encountered 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 resolved it.”

After troubleshooting efforts were unsuccessful, the Artemis launch director aborted the launch.

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

“Today is not the launch we wanted. I can tell you that these teams know exactly what they are doing and I am very proud of them,” said Bill Nelson, NASA administrator, on September 3 . we’re not going to ship until it’s right.”

NASA officials hold a press conference following the postponement of the Artemis I unmanned moon rocket launch

NASA officials hold a press conference following the postponement of the Artemis I unmanned moon rocket launch.CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

In August, NASA engineers tested the rocket’s flight termination system, kicking off a 20-day timeline for launch. If the launch is delayed beyond those 20 days, engineers will have to roll back the rocket for additional testing, Jeremy Parsons, deputy manager of NASA’s Ground Systems Exploration, said at a press briefing on Friday.

NASA engineers also argue about weather, a common cause of launch delays. The forecast before Saturday’s attempt showed 60% favorable weather conditions at the start of the launch window. “On any given day, there’s about a one-in-three chance that we’ll have a thunderstorm for any reason,” NASA meteorologist Melody Levin said at a briefing on Friday, September 2. There’s a 50% chance it’s because of the weather,” Levin said.

a crowd of people standing in the grass sitting in lawn chairs watch a rocket roll out of the tall building at night

Invited guests and NASA employees watch as NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket rolls out of the Vehicle Assembly Building, on August 16, 2022.NASA/Joel Kowsky

In addition, when scheduling a launch attempt, NASA must ensure that the Orion capsule does not go into eclipse, or the shadow of the moon, for too long, because it depends on the power of the sun.

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, according to the Space Coast tourism office.

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 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on September 3, 2022.Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

NASA has 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 all the way around the moon – further than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown – before returning for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

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

This story has been updated with new information. Originally published on September 3, 2022.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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