NASA intends to launch the Artemis 1 Moon mission again on Saturday, September 3rd, after canceling the planned launch on August 29th due to engine problems. That day, the Space Launch System was supposed to fly its first test flight, kicking off the Artemis program.
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However, its ground crews were unable to cool down one of its RS-25 engines, which had temperatures that were higher than the other three. NASA discovered the problem only a few hours before launch and had to cancel the event less than an hour before liftoff.
During a press conference to announce the new target date, SLS program manager John Honeycutt stated that the problem was caused by a faulty sensor. The rocket’s technical team is still reviewing data and fine-tuning its plan to ensure that the Saturday launch goes off without a hitch.
The team will practice propellant loading procedures over the next few days to ensure that the engines reach temperatures of around minus 420 degrees Fahrenheit. If the SLS team needs access to the sensor to solve the problem, the Artemis 1 mission could be delayed for weeks or even months.
Because an SLS launch must meet a number of environmental requirements in order to proceed, NASA can only schedule missions within specific time windows. After the current launch window closes on September 6th, the earliest possible date for the flight test is September 19th.
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On Thursday, the SLS team will review data and assess the mission’s readiness for flight. If the launch on September 3rd is approved, the SLS will launch into space between 2:17 and 4:17 PM EDT, assuming no other issues arise.