The Artemis I mission, which should have left for the Moon on August 29, continues to give engineers headaches.
After a first postponement on August 29, NASA was once again forced to cancel a launch of the Artemis 1 mission on Saturday September 3. The agency has decided not to schedule a new attempt for this week, and it will therefore have to be patient before seeing the SLS and its Orion capsule soar towards the Moon.
The problem came from a leak of liquid hydrogen in a connector between the Space Launch System – the huge rocket specially designed for the Artemis missions – and the launch pad 39B of the Kennedy Space Center where it rests. This malfunction had already been mentioned during the first report. NASA is still trying to determine the exact cause of this leak.
” The Artemis I mission to the Moon has been postponed,” explains the agency on Twitter. “Teams attempted to resolve an issue related to a leak in the fuel transfer equipment, but were unsuccessful “.
TeaI mission to the Moon has been postponed. Teams attempted to fix an issue related to a leak in the hardware transferring fuel into the rocket, but were unsuccessful. Join NASA leaders later today for a news conference. Check for updates: https://t.co/6LVDrA1toy
A return to the fold synonymous with a long delay
The agency therefore decided to skip the last launch window of this period, on the night of September 5 to 6. This is partly due to the outdated Flight Termination System (FTS). This is a set of powerful explosives whose objective is to completely pulverize the vehicle in the event of a catastrophic accident; a last resort to prevent this 100 meter high metal monster from doing too much damage when falling.
However, these explosives are subject to a very strict certification procedure; they must imperatively be retested after 25 days. The problem is that this deadline will be exceeded during the blackout. The operators have not obtained an extension of this certification, so NASA will have to take the time to test these explosives again.
In the meantime, the SLS has returned to its place in the center of the Vehicle Assembly Building, the huge hangar where technicians are currently trying to repair it. And this return to the fold means that we will have to wait for many weeks before relaunching the procedure.
Indeed, the institution is preparing to go through a so-called “blackout” period; she won’t haveno exploitable window of opportunity to send its machine to the Moon before September 19. And as it stands, agency officials seem untrustworthy; according to Chief Administrator Bill Nelson, there is little chance that the SLS will take off on that date.
Instead, NASA seems to be banking on a launch next month. It will indeed have several windows of fire the October 1st. If the SLS is not yet ready at this time, 11 other opportunities will present themselves. October 24, 25, 26 and 28. And in the event of a new glitch, it will then be necessary to wait until November 20.