NASA announced that the start of the unmanned lunar mission Artemisthat had to be suspended this Saturday due to a technical problemwill not take place this Monday or Tuesday but later on a date that will be determined early next week.
“Most likely after the departure of the Crew-5 mission, what it means in the second half of october“said the US space agency in a message on Twitter.
“Safety is at the top of the list“said the NASA administrator, bill nelsonwho played down the suspension of this Saturday’s launch, saying that failed attempts are part of space programs.
The cancellation of the launch was due, according to NASA, to the fact that “the teams found a leak of liquid hydrogen while loading propellant into the core stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.”
“Multiple efforts” to fix the problem by repositioning the seal were unsuccessful, as was proven by pumping fuel back into the rocket, so “the launch manager canceled the attempt scheduled for today“, the space agency said in a message on the Artemis mission website.
The objective of the first Artemis mission is test the capabilities of SLS and the Orion spacecraft before a manned trip to the Moon originally planned for 2024, which will be followed by a third in which for the first time since 1972 American astronauts will set foot on the lunar surface.
Nelson stressed at the press conference that the mission is not going to start “until everything is fine” and that it is ruled out to do so in this launch period, whose last date is this Tuesday.
The next period starts on September 19but the most likely is the one that begins on October 17.
ROCKET REPAIR WORK
The NASA executives who accompanied Nelson at the press conference, Jim Free and Mike Sarafinthey said still It is undecided whether the huge SLS rocket with the Orion spacecraft at the tip will be checked on the launch pad or taken to the assembly building. of vehicles in the space complex of Cape Canaveral (Florida).
The task that comes now is to understand the problem that arose this Saturday and look for solutions, he said Mike SarafinArtemis mission manager at NASA Headquarters.
This Saturday was the second failed attempt to launch the rocket that will take the Orion spacecraft to orbit the Moon in a mission of 37 days, 23 hours and 53 minutes.
The first was on August 29 and had to be canceled due to a failure in one of the 4 rocket engines, which It measures 98 meters and cost 4,100 million dollars.
This Saturday’s cancellation occurred about 3 hours before the launch window was scheduled to open, which was 2:17 p.m. local time (6:17 p.m. GMT).
The mission schedule established 2 other launch opportunitiesthis Monday and Tuesday, but the managers of the mission decided that it is better to check the rocket before trying again.
“We will go when we are ready. This is part of the space program: prepare for many failed attempts,” said NASA administrator, former senator bill nelson.