Why Did NASA Cancel Artemis Moon Mission Launch Attempt?
Following two previously cancelled launch attempts, NASA will not launch a spacecraft around the moon this week, officials said during a news conference on Saturday evening.
As a result, the team will probably transport the massive, 322-foot Space Launch System rocket back to its hanger, the Vehicle Assembly Building, and possibly attempt the moon again in October. The United States space agency is approaching a launch blackout period and is unable to interfere with a SpaceX flight that will soon be sending humans to the International Space Station.
Another challenge for Artemis I is that the rocket’s flight termination system, which uses explosives to detonate it if it deviates off course, needs to be tested again after 25 days. However, NASA may petition the spaceport for a certification extension so that it can try to launch sooner.
Mike Sarafin, the mission manager for Artemis moon mission, declared that unless a waiver is granted, “it is a rollback scenario”.
"We'll go when it's ready." NASA Administrator @SenBillNelson remarks on the Sept. 3 launch attempt of the #Artemis I flight test to the Moon. Updates are expected from the team as early as 4pm ET (20:00 UTC). https://t.co/dMVnvEQcfC pic.twitter.com/ClBhVRexLs
— NASA (@NASA) September 3, 2022
In roughly a week, mission leaders will announce the next actions after considering all available choices. Before the rocket lifts off, engineers and technicians may do some work at the platform.
On Saturday, shortly after 11 a.m., launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson decided to postpone the second launch attempt because engineers were unable to control a significant fuel leak. According to Sarafin, the amount of liquid hydrogen that leaked out was two or three times the permitted quantity. There is a significant risk of flammability when the air contains high hydrogen concentrations. In terms of managing the leak, he said, “it was fairly evident that we weren’t going to be able to work our way through it as we did on Monday.”
The reason of the leak is currently being looked at by NASA. The investigation team will examine into the likelihood that the fuel line’s unintentional overpressurization earlier in the morning may have been the root of the problem.
The team unexpectedly ran into a smaller-by-comparison liquid hydrogen leak, an engine that didn’t seem to be cooling down properly, and unfavorable weather during the initial launch attempt on Monday, Aug. 29. Later, NASA looked into the engine problem and concluded that the issue was an erroneous sensor, not improperly cooled fuel. The group decided to try again on Saturday as a result of their confidence.
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