The Artemis I mission launch, which was supposed to take place on Monday morning and was the first stage in NASA‘s ambitious return-to-the-moon program, has been postponed.
Forty minutes prior to launch, the countdown was halted due to an issue with a hydrogen line in the number 3 center stage engine. After review by the engineering teams, the launch was postponed because a more thorough examination of the problem and the development of a solution strategy were required.
There was no more time left in the two-hour launch window on Monday, according to the US space agency, and launch controllers were investigating why a “bleed test” to warm up one of the RS-25 engines for launch had failed. The Orion spacecraft and SLS rocket are still in a “safe and stable” condition.
This test was one of several that were slated for a “wet test,” or launch simulation, that occurred in June. 90% of the objectives were achieved during the rehearsal, which was interrupted 29 seconds before “launch,” however the bleed test was not one of them.
Concern was raised on Saturday (27), when five lightning strikes to the rocket’s defense towers during a storm. But they weren’t severe enough to call for a fresh inspection. The technology clearly performed as intended, according to Jeff Spaulding, senior director of tests at NASA. The breakdown on Monday doesn’t seem to be connected to the storm.
On Friday, September 2, there will be a two-hour release window beginning at 2:48 PM ET. On September 5, there will be a second chance to release the item, with a 1.5 hour window beginning at 7:12 pm.
The Artemis I mission, which won’t have a person on board, will last roughly 40 days and test the Orion spacecraft and SLS (Space Launch System) rocket. The Orion heat shield’s ability to shield the spacecraft (and its crew) from the high heat of re-entry into the atmosphere will be demonstrated, as will the procedures for rescuing the spacecraft and its crew after landing.
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