The Artemis 1 lunar mission was scrubbed for a second time – just hours before the scheduled launch on Saturday – as NASA technicians grappled with a hydrogen leak from the rocket’s highly combustible fuel system.
The next available launch opportunities won’t show up until Monday or Tuesday, that is, if engineers can find a solution to the dangerously recurring problem.
The $4.1 billion unmanned mission, part of the ongoing US effort to establish a moon base that could send humans to Mars, has been plagued with technical problems.
The leak began early Saturday as the agency attempted to fill its new 322-foot rocket with nearly 1 million gallons of supercooled hydrogen. The highly combustible throttle began leaking from the underside of the engine on Saturday, forcing engineers to scramble for a fix.
NASA on Monday canceled its previous launch attempt, leaving its payload of three test dummies on the ground instead of sending them into orbit around the moon.