LNasa announced on Tuesday that it would attempt to launch its new mega-rocket to the Moon on Saturday, after a failed first 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 (1817 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 small part of the cryogenic fuel escape on the engines. NASA teams suspect a problem related to possibly faulty “sensors”, said John Honeycutt, in charge of the rocket program. Nasa also plans to start engine cooling earlier in the countdown.
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 the first person of color to walk on the lunar surface.