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NASA reveals what’s next for troubled moon rocket

The US space agency hints an unresolved fuel leak issue may cause further delays

A fuel leak has forced NASA to call off the Saturday attempt to launch its Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket, for the second time this week. If the issue is not resolved over the next few days, the agency will likely have to postpone the long-awaited Artemis 1 moon mission until October.

A hydrogen fuel leak was detected during fueling, some seven hours before the planned liftoff, and the engineers made multiple last minute attempts to fix the problem during the countdown. However, the launch was eventually scrubbed three hours before the takeoff scheduled for 2:17pm EDT (6:17pm GMT).

The space agency said there is still a 90-minute launch window on Monday, and an even briefer 24-minute opportunity for another attempt on Tuesday. However, if the engineers are forced to haul the rocket back into the hangar for a more serious inspection and repairs, the launch is unlikely to happen until after SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the International Scape Station in October.

“We’ll go when it’s ready,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said on Saturday afternoon, commenting on the latest delay. “We don’t go until then, and especially now on a test flight… This is part of the space business.”

The uncrewed Artemis 1 mission was originally meant to lift off on Monday, but a similar hydrogen leak issue, that time in one of the rocket’s four liquid fuel engines, was detected just hours before launch, forcing a delay.

The Artemis program is an ambitious project by the American space agency focused on lunar exploration and eventually bringing humans back to the Moon’s surface for the first time in over 50 years. The first mission is supposed to be a trial run to fly test dummies to a lunar orbit before returning to Earth. However, US astronauts are expected to step foot there no sooner than in 2025.

https://ift.tt/XQ4qNJO 04, 2022 at 04:24AM
from RT – Daily news

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