Nasa to try launching Artemis 1 mission again on Saturday | Nasa


NASA will make a second attempt at launching its Space Launch System moon rocket this Saturday, the agency said, five days after technical problems prevented a first attempt.

The US space agency made the decision Monday to postpone its first attempt to launch a rocket that could land astronauts on the moon in 50 years due to engine problems.

Engineers at the Cape Canaveral, Florida, launch site discovered problems with one of the Artemis 1 rocket’s engines and were unable to fix it in time for the scheduled launch window. Mike Sarafin, NASA’s Artemis mission manager, said on Monday that bad weather was also a factor.

Managers said Tuesday they are changing fuel procedures to address the issue. A bad sensor could also be the cause of Monday’s discarded launch, they noted.

Moving on to a Saturday launch will provide additional insights even if the problem recurs and the countdown is halted again, said NASA’s rocket program manager, John Honeycutt. That’s better “than scratching the back of our heads, was it good enough or not”.

“Based on what I heard from the engineering team today, we need to continue studying the data and polishing our plan to put together the escape rationale,” he said.

The 322 ft (98 meters) rocket, the most powerful ever built by NASA, remains in its path at Kennedy Space Center with an empty crew pod on it.

The Space Launch System rocket will attempt to send the capsule around the moon and back. There will be no one on board, just three manikins. If successful, it will be the first capsule to fly to the moon since NASA’s Apollo program 50 years ago.

During Monday’s launch attempt, measurements showed that one of the four main engines in the rocket’s core stage could not be sufficiently cooled prior to its scheduled take-off ignition. It turned out to be as much as 40F (22C) hotter than the desired -420F (-250C), the temperature of the hydrogen fuel, according to Honeycutt. The three other engines came up just a little short.

According to Honeycutt, all engines seem fine.

The hair-raising operation will be carried out half an hour earlier for Saturday afternoon’s launch attempt, once refueling begins that morning. Honeycutt said the timing of this engine cooldown was earlier in successful testing last year, so doing it earlier could do the trick.

Honeycutt also questioned the integrity of one engine sensor, saying it may have provided inaccurate data Monday. To change that sensor, he noted, the missile would have to be towed back to the hangar, causing weeks of delay.

The $4.1 billion test flight, which has been years behind schedule, is the opening shot in NASA’s Artemis lunar research program, named after Apollo’s twin sister in Greek mythology. Astronauts can strap in for a lap around the moon as early as 2024 and even attempt a moon landing in 2025.

Crowds had flocked to Florida on Monday to watch the launch, but were disappointed. The mission sparked enthusiasm as humanity attempts to return to the moon for the first time since the 1970s.

The effort is expected to cost US taxpayers $93 billion, but NASA officials have said Americans would find the cost justified.

“This is the Artemis generation now,” NASA administrator and former space shuttle astronaut Bill Nelson said recently. “We were of the Apollo generation. This is a new generation. This is a new type of astronaut.”

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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