NASA scrubbed the planned launch of the Artemis I mission Aug. 29, 2022.
The next launch window opens on Sept. 2, but could be put off until later in the month.
When it does launch, it will be the first flight in the quest to return astronauts to the Moon ñ a first since the last Apollo mission in 1972.
As the launch clock counted down, NASA repeatedly stopped and started fueling the Space Launch System rocket because of a hydrogen leak. Engineers were successful in reducing the leakage to acceptable levels. However, the leak was in the same place that saw leakage during a dress rehearsal in the spring. Fueling was already an hour behind because of thunderstorms in the area.
Then NASA encountered an issue getting one of the four RS-25 engines on the bottom of the rocket’s core stage to the proper temperature range for liftoff.
“This is a very complicated machine, a very complicated system, and all those things have to work, and you don’t want to light the candle until it’s ready to go,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
Regarding the delays, he said, “It’s just part of the space business and it’s part of, particularly, a test flight.”
The mission was going to propel a crew capsule into Moon orbit, with the planned six-week mission ending with splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
The 322-foot tall rocket is more powerful than the Saturn V rockets that took Apollo astronauts to the Moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
For updates, follow along on NASA’s Artemis blog at https://blogs.nasa.gov/artemis.