After postponing the launch on Monday owing to faulty engine, NASA has stated that it will attempt to launch the Artemis I lunar mission once more on Saturday.
The launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft, which would be used for a trip around the moon that would last more than a month, is something the space agency is striving toward.
With less than two hours left in the countdown, one of the rocket’s four liquid-fueled engines was found to have a temperature issue, which NASA was unable to fix on Monday. A data analysis revealed that propellant was flowing as it should have, according to NASA’s manager of the SLS program John Honeycutt, who stated this during a news conference on Tuesday. As a result, NASA believes the engine problem was caused by a defective sensor.
According to Honeycutt, the technical team for the rocket is still analyzing the data and needs to “polish up on our plan” in order to make a Saturday launch feasible. There could be a delay of many weeks or perhaps months before NASA is able to attempt another launch if they need to roll SLS off the launchpad to reach the engine sensor.
“Replacing the sensor at the launchpad would be tricky,” Honeycutt said.
Mike Sarafin, the mission manager for NASA’s Artemis I mission, announced that the crew will alter the way that propellant is loaded into the rocket and would begin making efforts to cool the engine to the ideal temperature earlier in the countdown.
Mark Burger, weather launch officer for the Space Force, points out that the weather is still a concern for whether NASA can attempt the launch on Saturday.
“The probability of weather violation at any point in the countdown still looks to me rather high,” Burger made a statement at the news conference.
The two-hour launch window, according to NASA, opens at 2:17 p.m. ET on Saturday, meaning the launch could occur at any point between that time and 4:17 p.m. Despite a prognosis that the weather would prohibit the rocket from launching by about 60%, Burger noted that “I still think we have a pretty good opportunity” because of the size of the launch window.
The unmanned launch, which marks the beginning of NASA’s much anticipated return to the moon’s surface, is expected to be the first of the agency’s most potent rocket ever created. It heralds the launch of NASA’s Artemis lunar program, which aims to send astronauts to the moon by the third mission, scheduled for 2025.
Even though Artemis I won’t carry passengers or touch down on the moon, the mission is vital for proving that NASA’s massive rocket and deep space capsule are capable of what they claim to be able to do. Since the project’s inception, Artemis I has been years behind schedule and billions over budget.