NASA Delays the 1 Launch of the New Moon Rocket Artemis due to an Engine Issue
The US space agency has indicated that there is a problem with one of the main engines of the Space Launch System rocket
Monday’s initial flight of the massive rocket was postponed by NASA for at least four days due to an engine issue, and it hopes astronauts will one day return to the moon, more than half a century after the last Apollo mission to the moon.
The US space agency noticed a problem with one of the main engines of a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket when launch crews began a test that would have cooled the engines for liftoff. One will not cool down as expected.
The delay was announced at 08:35 a.m. m. EDT (12:35 GMT), two minutes after the scheduled launch time, as the 32-story rocket and Orion capsule waited to lift off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The mission, dubbed Artemis I, calls for a six-week unmanned Orion test flight around the Moon and back to Earth to drop water into the Pacific Ocean.
NASA has not set a new launch date for the two-stage rocket but said its first opportunity was Friday, September 2.
The agency’s adherence to this date depends on how quickly engineers resolve the engine problem. The next release opportunity is Monday, September 5.
Launch delays are common in the space business, and Monday’s delay does not signal a major setback for NASA or its main contractors, Boeing Co (BA.N) for SLS and Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) for Orion.
“We’re not going to get to work until we get it right,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in an online interview just after liftoff was called off. “It’s just to clarify that this is a very complex machine, a very complex system, and all of these things have to work. And you don’t want to light the candle until it’s ready to go.”
However, the delay was a disappointment to the thousands of spectators who lined the beaches of Cape Canaveral, binoculars in hand.
Vice President Kamala Harris had just arrived at the Space Center, joining a crowd of dignitaries and inviting guests who attended the event, shortly before the cleanup was called.
The first flight of the SLS-Orion rocket will mark a departure from NASA’s highly acclaimed Luna-to-Mars Artemis program, the successor to the Apollo lunar missions of the 1960s and 1970s.
The flight is intended to put the 5.75 million-pound craft through a rigorous test flight, pushing the limits of its design, before NASA deems it reliable enough to carry astronauts on a subsequent intended flight. to 2024.
Five decades have passed since humans lived on the Moon
The SLS is the world’s most powerful complex rocket and represents the largest new vertical launch system the US space agency has built since the launch of Saturn V during Apollo, which grew out of the space race between the US and Canada. The USA and the Soviet Union in the Cold War. it was.
If the first two Artemis missions are successful, NASA aims to return astronauts to the moon, including the first woman to walk on the moon, as early as 2025, though many experts believe the timeline is likely to be later than a few. road. Years.
The last humans to walk on the Moon were the two-man Apollo 17 team in 1972, following in the footsteps of 10 other astronauts during five previous missions beginning with Apollo 11 in 1969.
The Artemis program eventually seeks to create a long-range lunar base as a springboard for more ambitious astronaut flights to Mars, a goal NASA officials have said will likely take until at least the late 2030s.
The show is named after the goddess who was the twin sister of Apollo in ancient Greek mythology.
The SLS system has been in development for over a decade, with years of delays and cost overruns. But Artemis has also created tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in commerce.
One issue NASA officials cited last week as a potential roadblock to Monday’s launch was any signs during rocket refueling that a newly repaired hydrogen line facility had not held up. NASA officials said Sunday they are also looking into the possibility of a possible, but minor, helium leak from launch pad equipment.
Although there are no humans on board, Orion will carry a crew of three simulators, one man and two mannequins, equipped with sensors to measure radiation levels and other stresses that astronauts may encounter in real life.
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