New takeoff attempt on Saturday for the NASA rocket to the Moon

New takeoff attempt on Saturday for NASA's rocket to the Moon


NASA announced Tuesday that it will attempt to launch its new mega-rocket to the Moon on Saturday, after an initial attempt failed on Monday due to a technical problem.  

“We have agreed to change our take-off date to Saturday, September 3,” Mike Sarafin, in charge of the NASA of the Artemis 1 mission, which should mark the beginning of the American program to return to the Moon.

A weather 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 shock with 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 begin engine cooling earlier in the countdown.

A leak issue when filling fuel tanks was also observed on Monday, and although it may have be overcome, NASA teams will work to fix it by Saturday. 

The Artemis 1 mission is to propel 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.