NASA announced Tuesday that it will attempt to launch its new massive rocket onto the moon on Saturday, after the first failed attempt on Monday due to a technical problem.
“We’ve agreed to change our launch date for Saturday, September 3,” said Mike Sarafin, NASA’s official for the Artemis 1 mission, which should mark the beginning of the American return mission to the lunar program.
A meteorological official said he was “optimistic” about the weather on Saturday, although the possibility of unfavorable conditions during the two-hour shooting window, which begins at 2:17 p.m. local time, is “high.”
Monday’s launch was called off at the last minute due to a cooling problem in one of the four main engines, under the main stage. RS-25 engines need to be cooled so they are not shocked by the extremely cold fuel when ignited. But one of them could not reach the required temperature.
This temperature is achieved by allowing a small portion of the cooled fuel to escape from the engines. John Honeycutt, who is in charge of the rocket program, said NASA teams suspect there is a problem with potentially faulty “sensors”. NASA also plans to start engine cooling early in the countdown.
A leak problem was also noted when filling fuel tanks on Monday, and even if it can be overcome, NASA teams will work to fix it by Saturday.
Artemis 1’s mission is to propel an unmanned Orion capsule into lunar orbit, to verify that the craft is safe for future astronauts – including the first woman and first person of color to walk on the moon.
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