New launch attempt Artemis mission to the moon not for immediately

New launch attempt Artemis mission to the moon not for immediately
New launch attempt Artemis mission to the moon not for immediately

The launch of the SLS supermissile as part of the first Artemis mission to the Moon is not in the offing, after the launch at Cape Canaveral in Florida was canceled for the second time in five days on Saturday due to technical problems.

The SLS launch vehicle had two hours on Saturday at 8:07 PM Belgian time to launch the unmanned Orion capsule to the Moon. But as with the first attempt on Monday, the preparations were bumpy. In particular, there was a leak in the pipeline that is intended to bring liquid hydrogen from the ground installations to the first stage of the 98-meter high launcher.

Stopping refueling three times and restarting after troubleshooting did nothing. In the end, the launch director blew off the take-off. Mission Director Mike Sarafin said the leak was “major.” The cause is not yet known.

The most powerful launch vehicle in the world could theoretically leave on Monday or Wednesday (Belgian time). But that option ‘is not on the table’, it sounded at a press conference. There is not enough time to complete the repair by Wednesday at the latest.

Artemis I at Cape Canaveral. © Getty

By the way, NASA has yet to decide whether the repair will take place on the launch pad, followed by a mini-refueling as a test, or in the huge Assembly Building (VAB). Any option implies a delay of several weeks

Launch conflict

The next launch window opens on September 19 and runs until October 4. But NASA wants to send a new crew to the International Space Station on October 3 with a Crew Dragon from SpaceX and wants to avoid a launch conflict.

Thus, it appears that the subsequent launch window is the option. This is open from October 17 to 31.

“We’ll go when we’re ready,” said NASA head Bill Nelson, who has himself taken a space shuttle trip. “We’re not going until that time, especially now, on a test flight.”

The SLS is to launch the unmanned Orion capsule, fitted with a European service module, to the Moon for a test flight, in which the heat shield in particular will receive particular attention.

The ultimate goal of the Artemis program is to allow another human to set foot on our natural satellite by 2025 at the earliest and for the first time since 1972.

The SLS launch vehicle had two hours on Saturday at 8:07 PM Belgian time to launch the unmanned Orion capsule to the Moon. But as with the first attempt on Monday, the preparations were bumpy. In particular, there was a leak in the pipeline that is supposed to bring liquid hydrogen from the ground installations to the first stage of the 98-meter high launcher. Stopping refueling three times and restarting after troubleshooting did not help. In the end, the launch director blew off the take-off. Mission Director Mike Sarafin said the leak was “major.” The cause is not yet known. The most powerful launch vehicle in the world could theoretically leave on Monday or Wednesday (Belgian time). But that option ‘is not on the table’, it sounded at a press conference. There is not enough time to complete the repair by Wednesday at the latest. NASA has yet to decide whether the repair will take place on the launch pad, followed by a mini-refueling as a test, or in the huge assembly building (VAB). Any option implies a delay of several weeks. The next launch window opens on September 19 and runs until October 4. But NASA wants to send a new crew to the International Space Station on October 3 with a Crew Dragon from SpaceX and wants to avoid a launch conflict. So it seems that the next launch window is the option. This is open from October 17 to 31. “We’ll go when we’re ready,” said NASA head Bill Nelson, who has himself taken a space shuttle trip. “We’re not going to go that far, especially now, on a test flight.” The SLS is to launch the unmanned Orion capsule equipped with a European service module to the Moon for a test flight in which the heat shield will receive particular attention. The ultimate goal of the Artemis program is to allow another human to set foot on our natural satellite by 2025 at the earliest and for the first time since 1972.


The article is in Dutch

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