the launch of Artemis 1 postponed, all to know

A technical problem with one of the SLS engines forced NASA to postpone the highly anticipated launch of the Artemis I mission.

It will still be necessary to wait to see the SLS and the Orion capsule set off in the direction of the Moon. After many successive postponements, NASA was forced to postpone the launch of the Artemis 1 mission which was to leave today for the orbit of the Moon.

The launch procedure was to start at 12:30 p.m. French timebut the Space Launch System, the huge launcher specially developed for this occasion, was obviously not ready yet.

Hydrogen leak and stuck valve

During a preliminary test that was to test the tightness of the propulsion system, NASA spotted a hydrogen leak likely to endanger the entire structure. At first, the agency continued its preparations, which seemed to indicate that the problem had been solved.

But two big hours later, the technicians’ tests still returned suspicious data at the level of the air sampling circuit. According to some observers, including French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, a cooling valve of one of the huge stuck engines would be the cause of the problem. But NASA has not yet released all the details on this situation.

Anyway, based on the data collected, the ground crew made the decision to put an end to the suspense by postponing the start to the next launch window. “Launch Director Charlie Blackwel-Thompson has decided to cancel this Artemis I launch attempt.”, NASA announced. “Engineers are now working on a plan to continue collecting data on this particular engine.”, specified the agency.

Next launch window arrives September 2

As it stands, no one knows how long it will take NASA to make the necessary adjustments. Before restarting the procedure, the technical teams will therefore have to identify the problem with certainty, solve it, and carry out a new battery of very demanding tests; there is no question of mortgaging the entire Artemis 1 mission by simple haste, especially since this would also compromise the following two missions (see our article).

If all goes well, NASA will be able to take advantage of the next moon launch window on September 2. But if the slightest doubt remains, she will not take the slightest risk and will certainly choose an even later date as a precautionary principle.

While waiting for a more detailed report from NASA, we therefore give you an appointment on Friday, unless the agency announces another date in the meantime.

Leave a Comment