NASA delays launch of Artemis I moon rocket by weeks after hydrogen leak
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A second attempt to launch the Artemis I lunar rocket has been pushed back after NASA failed to plug a fuel leak discovered during refueling. It’s the second time in five days that technical problems have kept the spacecraft on the launch pad.
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The space agency’s attempt for a rescheduled launch of the uncrewed capsule on Saturday afternoon was first delayed around 9 a.m. as engineers began attempting to fix a hydrogen leak in the section engine at the bottom of the rocket. NASA officially halted takeoff on Saturday around 11:20 a.m.
Engineers first attempted to repair the hydrogen leak by heating up the connector and cooling it with cold fuel to stop the leak. After the first attempt failed, they attempted to repressurize the leak with helium.
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NASA said at a press conference on Saturday afternoon that Artemis I would not launch until the end of the period, which is until September 8. There’s another launch period later in September if engineers are able to fix the leak without moving the massive rocket to the Vehicle Assembly Building for further work. There is also another launch period in October that NASA can choose.
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When the 32-story Space Launch System (SLS) rocket launches, the crew capsule will carry three test dummies and fly around the moon and back for a 37-day flight test period.
If the first two Artemis missions are successful, NASA plans to return astronauts to the Moon, including the first woman to set foot on the Moon, as soon as 2025.