NASA once again cancels the launch of the Artemis I mission to the moon

(CNN) – The launch of the unmanned Artemis I mission has been called off again after encountering fuel-loading problems as it was preparing to embark on a historic voyage around the Moon.

The launch was scheduled for Saturday afternoon, but those plans were scrapped after the team discovered a liquid hydrogen leak that they spent most of the morning trying to solve. Liquid hydrogen is one of the propellants used in the rocket’s large core stage. The leak prevented the launch team from filling the liquid hydrogen tank despite trying several troubleshooting procedures.

This is the second time in a week that the space agency has had to pause the countdown to launch due to technical issues. The first launch attempt, on Monday, was canceled after several problems emerged, including with a system intended to cool the rocket’s engines before takeoff and several leaks that appeared during the refueling of the rocket.

A liquid hydrogen leak was detected at 7:15 a.m. ET in the rapid separation cavity feeding the rocket with hydrogen in the primary stage engine section. It was a different leak than the one that happened before the launch, which was canceled on Monday.

The launch controllers heated up the line in an effort to get an airtight seal, and the flow of liquid hydrogen resumed before a leak occurred again. They stopped the flow of liquid hydrogen and proceeded to “close the valve used to fill and drain it, then increase the pressure in a ground transmission line with helium to try to re-seal it,” according to NASA.

This troubleshooting plan was unsuccessful. The team tried the first plan again to heat the line, but the leak occurred again after manually restarting the flow of liquid hydrogen.

How important is the launch of the Artemis I mission? 1:07

The launch window opened at 2:17 PM ET and will close at 4:17 PM ET on Saturday. Live coverage of NASA began at 5:45 a.m. ET on its website and TV channel.

Weather conditions on Saturday were 60 percent favorable during the launch window, according to chief meteorologist Melody Lovin, who predicted that the weather would not be an “obstacle” to the launch.

The Artemis I stack, which includes the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, remains on Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Artemis I mission is just the beginning of a program aimed at returning humans to the Moon, and eventually landing manned missions on the surface of Mars.

Artemis will make a trip around the moon and land in the Pacific Ocean on October 11. If not, the mission could also be released on September 5th.

In recent days, the launch team has taken time to address issues, such as a hydrogen leak, that have surfaced ahead of Monday’s planned launch. The team also completed a risk assessment for an engine conditioning issue and a foam breakage that also emerged, according to NASA officials.

Both are considered acceptable risks before the countdown to launch begins, according to Mike Sarafin, Artemis’ mission manager. On Monday, a sensor in one of the rocket’s four RS-25 engines, identified as Engine 3, showed that the engine was not able to reach the appropriate temperature range required to start the engine on takeoff.

Engines must be thermally conditioned before the supercooled propellant can flow through them prior to take off. To prevent the engines from being subjected to temperature shocks, the launch controllers increase the pressure of the liquid hydrogen tank in the primary stage to send some liquid hydrogen to the engines. This is known as “purification”.

The team has since determined that the faulty sensor provided the reading and they plan to discard the faulty sensor in the future, according to John Blevins, chief engineer at Space Launch Systems.

The purge, expected to occur around 8:00 AM ET, is currently suspended while engineers address the hydrogen leak.

Artemis mission 1

The first Artemis expedition will have a very special crew 0:49

After the Artemis I launch, Orion’s journey will take 37 days as it travels to the Moon, around it and back to Earth, traveling a total of 2.1 million kilometers (1.3 million miles).

Although the passenger list does not include humans, it does include passengers: three supermodels and a stuffed Snoopy will travel on Orion.

The crew on the Artemis I ship may seem a little unusual, but everyone has a purpose. Snoopy will act as a zero-gravity indicator, which means that it will begin to float inside the capsule as soon as it reaches the space environment.

The dolls, named Commander Monnequin Campos, Helga and Zohar, will measure deep space radiation that future crews may encounter and test new protective suits and technologies. There is also a biological experiment carrying seeds, algae, fungi and yeasts inside Orion to measure how life reacts to this radiation.

In addition, scientific experiments and technological demonstrations were also conducted on the ring on the rocket. From there, 10 small satellites, called CubeSats, will go their separate ways to gather information about the Moon and the deep space environment.

Cameras in and out of Orion will share images and videos throughout the mission, including live views of Callisto’s experience, which will capture a series of model Commander Moonikin Campos sitting in the commander’s seat. If you have an Amazon Alexa-enabled device, you can ask it to locate a task every day.

Expect to see views of Earth similar to those first shared during the Apollo 8 mission in 1968, but with better quality cameras and technology.

The inaugural Artemis mission will launch a phase of NASA’s space exploration aimed at landing diverse crews of astronauts in previously unexplored regions of the Moon, on the Artemis II and Artemis III missions, scheduled for 2024 and 2025, respectively. Manned missions to Mars.

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