Until the next possible launch on Friday, the engineers want to eliminate the reasons for the start of the “Artemis” being canceled on Monday. (archive image)
The engineers want to eliminate the reasons for this by the next possible launch on Friday. After the US space agency Nasa canceled the start of an unmanned moon mission, she is looking for the reasons for the problem.
«The launch of Artemis I will no longer take place today. The teams are working on an engine leak problem,” NASA said on Monday, a few minutes into the two-hour launch window. “We will not start before everything is right,” said Nasa boss Bill Nelson shortly afterwards. “This is a very complicated system and everything has to be right.” His own “Space Shuttle” mission has also been postponed four times.
Nasa named September 2nd and September 5th as other possible start dates. However, it is still unclear whether the problems that have arisen can be resolved by then. In both cases, the start windows would be shorter than on Monday, it said.
“Friday is definitely possible,” said Mission Chief Mike Sarafin. “But we need time to look at all the data.” A team of engineers will meet again on Tuesday to discuss how to proceed, and there will be another press conference in the evening (local time).
On Saturday, lightning struck one of the towers next to the 32-story rocket, Sarafin said. A minor problem with the software configuration for refueling was quickly resolved, and a leak was quickly identified and remedied when refueling with hydrogen.
However, it was then not possible to bring one of the four engines to the required target temperature. “Our team then also saw a problem with a ventilation valve and we thought we needed a little more time,” said Sarafin. In addition, possible weather problems would have announced themselves in the two-hour launch time window.
The “Space Launch System” rocket and the “Orion” spacecraft capsule are still in a safe and stable condition, said NASA. “The rocket and its components consist of millions of parts,” said Nelson at a press conference about five hours after the burst launch. “Needless to say, this complexity becomes daunting when you’re working toward a countdown.”
“We were hoping for the launch of Artemis I, but today’s test provides us with important data for testing the most powerful rocket in history,” wrote Vice President Kamala Harris on Twitter. She had traveled to Cape Canaveral for the scheduled launch. “Our commitment to the Artemis program remains steadfast and we will return to the moon.”
The “Artemis I” unmanned test flight, which will last around 40 days, is intended to herald the return to manned flights to the moon. NASA wants to send people there again with its “Artemis II” mission at the earliest in 2025, for the first time including a woman and a non-white person. Problems had already arisen with earlier tests and the original schedule had been delayed.