Following a failed attempt earlier this week, NASA has delayed the launch of its Artemis 1 Moon mission yet again.
Staff at Kennedy Space Center were unable to repair a persistent leak in a liquid hydrogen connection point on the agency’s next-generation Space Launch System super heavy-lift rocket, forcing the agency to cancel Saturday’s launch.
NASA discovered the leak at 7:23 a.m. ET and attempted to troubleshoot it in a variety of ways, but after three failed attempts, the ground crew recommended a “no go” for Saturday’s launch attempt.
Monday’s attempt was cut short when one of the SLS’s four engines failed to reach the required temperature to launch Artemis 1.
The #Artemis I 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 pic.twitter.com/LgXnjCy40u
— NASA (@NASA) September 3, 2022
“The Artemis I 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,” NASA said on Twitter.
If NASA can fix the leak on Launch Pad 39B, the agency has one more launch window before a major delay becomes unavoidable.
If the SLS cannot fly by September 5th, NASA will have to return it to the Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building to test the rocket’s flight termination system. At that point, the earliest Artemis 1 could launch is September 19th, but an October launch is more likely.