Why does NASA keep delaying the launch of the SLS rocket that will reach the Moon?

The first test launches for the SLS rocket continue to be delayed, jeopardizing the flight of Artemis 1 , NASA ‘s first step on the way to the Moon .

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The Artemis program  seeks for humanity to return to the Moon  in mid-2025. It is made up of 3 missions, where the first was scheduled for 2021. And two months into 2022, it continues to be delayed due to the SLS rocket.

As published by NASA, the displacement of the first Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to launch pad 39B of the Kennedy Space Center will not take place before March 2022 in the midst of a new delay that worries in the framework of the mission .

What’s going on with NASA’s SLS?

The SLS rocket is destined to be the most powerful in the history of the North American agency . Your mission is vital: you will have to propel the Orion capsule into orbit of the Moon.

The SLS was created by the United States Congress in 2010, specifying which company should manufacture each component. Donald Trump promoted its construction, with the aim of launching it in 2024, but multiple episodes, including the pandemic, are delaying its development.

According to Tom Whitmeyer, deputy administrator for exploration systems development at NASA Headquarters, the launch is being pushed back to mid-March, with no exact date.

Unlike in December, when a faulty motor controller, or the computer that controls one of the SLS’s RS-25 motors, delayed the planned launch in the first half of January , there is no problem causing this latest delay. . “We have to close a lot of things,” Whitmeyer said. “It’s a big vehicle. There’s a lot of instrumentation that needs to be finished.”

“There’s really nothing significant that we’re working on,” added Mike Bolger, director of NASA’s Earth Exploration Systems program. “It’s just the volume of work and we’re really meticulous and making sure that when we go out we’re prepared.”

For Artemis 1 , the SLS is expected to launch the unmanned Orion into lunar orbit, attempting to hone all of its facets to provide maximum safety for Artemis 2, the project’s first manned mission.

With the new delay, there are now two tentative dates for its realization: from April 8 to 23 or from May 7 to 21 approximately.