A fuel leak forced NASA to cancel the launch of the Shin-Moon rocket for unmanned test flights.
The next launch attempt won’t take place until Friday at the earliest.
The 322-foot Space Launch System rocket was set to take off with three test dummies on Monday morning for its first flight, putting the capsule into lunar orbit.
A shakedown flight would be a major step forward in America’s quest to return astronauts to the moon for the first time since the Apollo program ended 50 years ago.
NASA hopes to send four astronauts to the moon in 2024 and land humans on the moon as early as 2025.
This is breaking news. Here’s AP’s previous story:
Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP) – A fuel leak during final takeoff preparations threatens to delay the launch of NASA’s powerful New Moon rocket Monday morning on a shakedown flight with three test dummies on board. was.
With precious time ticking away, NASA repeatedly shut down the fuel supply to a Space Launch System rocket, delivering about a million gallons of ultra-cold hydrogen and oxygen due to leaks. Refueling had already delayed him by nearly an hour due to a thunderstorm at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The high-explosive hydrogen leak came from the same location that leaked during spring rehearsals.
Then there was a second apparent hydrogen leak in the valve that caused the problem in June, but NASA thought it had been fixed, officials said.
Late in the morning, NASA officials were concerned that the core stage (the large orange fuel tank that houses the four main engines) had cracks or other defects, but later appeared to be nothing more than frost build-up. said that
The rocket was set to take off on a mission to put the crew capsule into lunar orbit. The launch represents a milestone in America’s quest to return astronauts to the moon for the first time since the Apollo program ended 50 years before him.
Jeremy Graber, NASA’s deputy launch director, said the space agency will have to decide whether to go ahead with Monday morning’s launch after many struggles with initial leaks.
“It takes a lot of work to get to that point,” warns Graeber.
If NASA cancels Monday’s launch, the next attempt will be Friday at the earliest.
The 322-foot (98-meter) spacecraft is the most powerful rocket ever built by NASA, surpassing the Saturn V that took Apollo astronauts to the moon.
There were no astronauts inside the rocket’s Orion capsule. Instead, test dummies fitted with sensors to measure vibrations, cosmic radiation and other conditions were strapped in for a six-week mission scheduled to end with the capsule’s splashdown in the Pacific Ocean in October.
Thousands of people flocked to the beach to watch the rocket take off, even though no one was on board. Vice President Kamala Harris was expected among the VIPs.
The launch was the first flight in NASA’s 21st century lunar exploration program and was named Artemis after Apollo’s mythical twin sisters.
If the tests go well, the astronauts will be on board for a second flight, and will fly back around the moon in 2024. By the end of 2025, he could be followed by a two-man moon landing.
The problem seen Monday is reminiscent of the days of NASA’s space shuttle in 1990, when a hydrogen fuel leak disrupted the countdown and delayed a series of launches.
Launch Director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson and her team also had to deal with communications issues related to the Orion capsule.
Engineers scrambled to make sense of the 11-minute delay on the communication line between launch control and Orion that occurred late Sunday. By Monday morning the problem was gone, but NASA needed to know why the problem occurred before launch could begin.
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Aug 29, 2022 8:39:11 AM (GMT -4:00)