The launch of the world’s most powerful rocket during its test flight to lunar orbit has been postponed, after scientists detected a hydrogen leak on board.
Artemis 1 can now take off from Cape Canaveral on Friday, after missing today’s launch window.
The launch was delayed during refueling, just 40 minutes before the scheduled takeoff, after a liquid hydrogen leak was detected.
“Missile launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson called a test of the Artemis 1 rocket launch effort,” NASA said.
“The problem appears to be that the engine bleeds irreparably, but the rocket is currently in a stable configuration.
“It was almost tanked, but not completely tanked.
“Engineers are currently working on a plan to continue collecting data on this specific engine and failed bleed.”
Project Artemis is aiming to put humans on the moon again, as a stepping stone for missions to Mars.
Its first mission, a 42-day unmanned flight around the moon, will test the giant rocket and Orion spacecraft on which astronauts will eventually travel.
Once in space, it will deploy 10 CubeSats – a kind of miniature satellite – that will do a variety of jobs in deep space, from studying how radiation affects yeast DNA to hunting for ice. water on the moon.
The 98-meter Space Launch System (SLS) is the most powerful rocket NASA has ever built, and in this crucial phase of testing, it will fly farther than any spacecraft built for man: 40,000 miles across the far side of the moon and 280,000 miles from Earth.
The megarocket’s 8.8-million-pound thrust at launch was 13% greater than that of the Space Shuttle, and 15% greater than that of the Saturn V rockets used in the Apollo missions.
According to NASA, each of the two boosters generates more thrust than 14 four-engine commercial planes and will operate for 126 seconds, providing more than 75% of the vehicle’s thrust before they explode.
It was also powered by four RS-25 engines, with a trip to the moon taking several days.
The disappointment from the viewers at the debut is wiped clean
By David Blevins, news reporter, at Cape Canaveral in Florida
“It’s my birthday, so it sucks!” a teenage girl told me.
She and her parents were among hundreds of people ready on Cocoa Beach to watch Artemis 1 launch on the other side of the Canaveral Bite.
An African-American couple sitting nearby said they took their toddler to witness the first step of putting a person of color on the moon.
Vice President Kamala Harris went to the Kennedy Space Center to witness history, but history will have to wait.
Just three minutes into the launch window, Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, NASA’s first female test launch director, called it “a trample.”
Early morning talk about fixing fuel and air-conditioning leaks with engines on the Space Launch System did not discourage the onlookers.
One middle-aged man said: “I was so embarrassed that I drove her all the way from Minnesota to Minnesota.
They can only hope it’s just a small delay, and not a huge delay to this landmark launch.