NASA is now eyeing Friday, September 2 at 12:48 pm ET for the second attempt.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officials scrubbed the first attempt to launch its Artemis I mission launch after a problem with a hydrogen bleed line in one of its four core stage engines was uncovered.
NASA called off the launch shortly after the scheduled 8:33 a.m. Eastern liftoff after spending more than two and a half hours attempting to resolve a problem flowing liquid hydrogen into one of four main engines in the rocket’s core stage to prepare them for the planned launch.
NASA encountered an issue with the “hydrogen kickstart” of the four RS-25 engines, where liquid hydrogen is flowed through the engines for thermal conditioning ahead of launch. That system was not tested in the final wet dress rehearsal in June because of a leak in a quick-disconnect fitting, and was something project officials said they would test earlier than planned in the launch countdown.
The hydrogen kickstart worked on three of the four engines, but on the fourth, designated engine #3, controllers did not see the flow of liquid hydrogen they expected. They took several measures to try to increase that flow, including shutting off the flow in the other three engines to increase the pressure for engine #3, without success.
NASA then called for an unplanned hold at T-40 minutes, originally scheduled to last 10 minutes, to work on a troubleshooting plan for the engine. After more than an hour, NASA scrubbed the launch but planned to collect additional data before unloading the liquid hydrogen and oxygen propellants from the core and upper stages.
This mission represents the space agency’s first step in returning to the moon for the first time since 1972.
The test mission—along with a series of planned follow-up flights in the years ahead—largely hinges on NASA’s Space Launch System, a 322-foot-tall rocket, and the Orion spacecraft, which will carry crew members on future lunar missions.
…NASA aims to take Orion around the moon and back on a roughly six-week trek. The stakes are high for NASA and the roster of aerospace manufacturers that helped design and construct the Artemis hardware, a multibillion-dollar program whose cost has drawn criticism. NASA and aerospace companies including Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. are eager to show that they can pull off big, ambitious projects as the commercial space industry gathers momentum.
Reports show a new launch date of September 2nd has been set. But that may be a bit optimistic.
‘I am skeptical they will try again on Friday, I think the delay is likely to be longer’ [said Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics].
NASA, which acknowledged the engine was not tested, said it will collect data on the engine bleed and depending on what is gathered, the agency will attempt another launch on Friday at 12:48pm ET.
‘We don’t launch until it’s right,’ NASA administrator Bill Nelson said after an engine temperature issue forced liftoff from Kennedy Space Center to be scrubbed.
‘This is a very complicated machine,’ Nelson said. ‘You don’t want to light the candle until it’s ready to go.’
The delay disappoints the crowds of spectators who came to watch the live launch, as well as those who woke up early to watch it televised.
— Tom McCool (@Cygnusx112) August 29, 2022
— Andrea Jackson TV 📺🇺🇸 (@AJacksonTV) August 29, 2022
The JSC crowd is gathering for Artemis 1! pic.twitter.com/keDKgN9MeO
— Javi Barillas (@Aero_javi214) August 29, 2022
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