NASA ‘s first return mission to the Moon was called off due to technical problems with the SLS rocket.
It didn’t happen. Failures in one of the SLS rocket engines caused the flight of NASA’s Artemis 1 mission to the Moon to be suspended on August 29.
Now, complying with the launch windows provided by the space agency, its departure is scheduled for September 2.
The launch of #Artemis I is no longer happening today as teams work through an issue with an engine bleed. Teams will continue to gather data, and we will keep you posted on the timing of the next launch attempt. https://t.co/tQ0lp6Ruhv pic.twitter.com/u6Uiim2mom
— NASA (@NASA) August 29, 2022
According to official information, fuel leaks were found in engine 3 of the SLS rocket at almost 98 meters of altitude.
As flight time approached, NASA repeatedly stopped and started the spacecraft’s rocket fuel supply with nearly 1 million gallons of super-cold hydrogen and oxygen because of the problem.
Fueling was already running nearly an hour late due to thunderstorms at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.
That wasn’t the only problem, though: A second apparent leak appeared at a valve, officials said.
Later in the morning, a crack or some other defect was detected in the center stage, the large orange fuel tank with four main engines.
“The launch of Artemis I will no longer take place today as the teams are working on an issue with an engine leak,” NASA said on its Twitter account.
During the night of Sunday, there were also communication problems between the Orion capsule and the control center. The problem was solved with the passing of the hours, but it also requires further analysis on the rest of the days.
There is great expectation for the launch
Although there was no one aboard the Orion capsule (only 3 mannequins travel), thousands of people packed the Florida coast to watch the rocket rise.
The launch is the first flight in NASA ‘s 21st-century lunar exploration program , named Artemis after Apollo’s mythological twin sister.
Assuming the test goes well, the astronauts will climb aboard for the second flight, fly into orbit of the Moon and return as early as 2024. A two-person lunar landing could follow in late 2025.
Now, with the delay, the next Artemis 1 attempt will be on Friday, September 2. If this new deadline is not met, it will be tried again on Monday 5, but a new error could postpone the launch for up to a couple of weeks.