October 3, 2022

NASA may try to launch Artemis moon mission again in late September: NPR

NASA’s Space Launch System rocket with the Orion spacecraft was seen on a mobile launcher at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Saturday before a planned launch was scrapped due to a fuel leak.

NASA/Getty Images


Hide title

Change the title

NASA/Getty Images

NASA’s Space Launch System rocket with the Orion spacecraft was seen on a mobile launcher at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Saturday before a planned launch was scrapped due to a fuel leak.

NASA/Getty Images

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – After canceling Saturday’s planned launch, NASA has delayed a new launch attempt for the Artemis lunar mission until at least September 19.

The decision on Saturday morning was the second time in a week that the release was postponed.

After several failed attempts to contain the leak of liquid hydrogen fuel, the official scrub announcement from launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson came at 11:19 a.m. ET.

Officials announced Saturday afternoon that they would not attempt another launch during the current launch period, which ends Tuesday. Instead, they said they might try for another launch in late September.

“We won’t launch until we think it’s right,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

This will be the space agency’s first attempt to launch a rocket Stumbled On Monday morning, a sensor indicated that one of the rocket’s four engines did not appear to be cooling to the proper temperature of approximately minus-420 degrees Fahrenheit.

After studying the problem and troubleshooting, officials said the engine was actually fine and it was clear a sensor was giving a false temperature reading. “We knew we had a bad sensor,” said John Honeycutt, the rocket’s program manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Later on Saturday, as crews were refueling the rocket, they repeatedly detected liquid hydrogen leaks, causing them to stop and start fueling several times.

NASA made three unsuccessful attempts to repair the leak.

Speaking on Saturday afternoon, Artemis mission manager Mike Sarafin said the hydrogen transfer line had been inadvertently over-pressurized, but suggested it was too early to tell if that was the cause of the leak.

If an exemption is not obtained to stay on the launch pad until the next attempt, the rocket will have to roll back to the Vehicle Assembly Building, officials said.

This is not the first time that hydrogen leaks have marred efforts to fuel the rocket. Similar ones appeared during a dress rehearsal and during the first attempt at the launch, although officials described Saturday’s leak as much bigger. NASA officials are currently investigating the issue and considering next steps.

Artemis comes half a century after the last moon landing

It has been almost 50 years The space agency was the last to launch A vehicle designed to carry people to the moon. NASA has named its new moon project Artemis, after the Greek god Apollo’s twin sister, vowing to put the first woman and the first color on the lunar surface.

No astronauts will be on board during the Artemis rocket’s long-awaited first mission, but the flight will be an important test of how NASA’s new vehicle will perform in space and during its fiery return to Earth.

Once successfully launched, the rocket will send a crew capsule, Orion, on a journey around the moon, coming within about 60 miles of the lunar surface. Five weeks later, it returns home and splashes into the Pacific Ocean.

The rocket’s next flight will carry people, but that isn’t scheduled until 2024. The agency is aiming for a 2025 moon landing — a delay most space watchers expect because the rocket is already years behind its original schedule. Congress had liked It is scheduled to fly in 2016, five years after NASA retired its aging space shuttles.

Despite the most recent Artemis 1 delays, NASA plans to launch Artemis 2 in 2024 and Artemis 3 in 2025, Nelson said Saturday.

critics say If NASA depends on this rocket and capsule, the Artemis program will be very expensive. There is the Inspector General of NASA said The first few planes cost more than $4 billion each, not including billions of dollars in development costs.

Meanwhile, SpaceX, the private company that currently carries astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA, is developing its own megarocket and space vehicle called Starship. The rocket is expected to have its first flight soon and is designed to be reusable and cheap. NASA already exists said SpaceX will rely on Starship to build a lunar lander to transport its astronauts from lunar orbit to the surface.