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New take-off attempt on Saturday for NASA’s rocket to the Moon

(Belga) NASA announced on Tuesday that it would attempt to launch its new mega-rocket for the Moon on Saturday, after a first failed attempt on Monday due to a technical problem.

“We have agreed to change our take-off date for Saturday, September 3,” said Mike Sarafin, in charge at NASA of the Artemis 1 mission, which should mark the start of the mission. of the American return to the moon program. A meteorological official said he was “optimistic” about the weather on Saturday, although the likelihood of unfavorable conditions during the two-hour shooting window, which begins at 2:17 p.m. local time (6:17 p.m. GMT), is “high”. The launch of the rocket was canceled on Monday at the last moment due to a cooling problem in one of the four main engines, under the main stage. These RS-25 engines need to be cooled so they don’t get shocked by the ultra-cold fuel when ignited. But one of them could not reach the desired temperature. This temperature is reached by letting a tiny part of the cryogenic fuel escape on the engines. This problem was caused by a “poor connection” on an element of the craft, which has since been “fixed”, said John Honeycutt, in charge of the rocket program. A leak problem when filling the fuel tanks was also observed on Monday, and even if it could be overcome, NASA teams will work to fix it by Saturday. The Artemis 1 mission is to launch the unmanned Orion capsule into orbit around the Moon, to verify that the vehicle is safe for future astronauts — including the first woman and first person of color to walk on the lunar surface . (Belga)