Florida’s Kennedy Space Center (CNN) NASA’s historic Artemis I moon mission has been put on hold because the team couldn’t fix a problem with one of the rocket’s four engines in time for the launch.
Today’s Artemis i launch to the moon scrubbed after engine issue
At a NASA press conference, Artemis mission manager Mike Sarafin said, “It’s too early to say what the options are.” “We really need time to look at all of the data and information. We’ll play here for all nine innings. We are still not ready to give up.”
The next chance to send the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft on their journey is September 2. Whether or not another try is made that day depends on how testing goes.
Sarafin said, “Friday is definitely a possibility” if the problem can be fixed in the next 48 to 72 hours while the rocket is still on the pad.
The next chance to launch is on September 2, from 12:48 p.m. to 2:48 p.m. ET. After that, the next window is September 5, which starts at 5:12 p.m. ET and ends at 6:42 p.m. ET.
NASA said in an update that launch controllers were still trying to figure out why a test to get the RS-25 engines on the bottom of the core stage to the right temperature range for liftoff did not work and the two-hour launch window ran out. “Engineers are still getting more information.”
Sarafin said that the launch team knew the bleed test was risky because they hadn’t been able to do it in previous wet dress rehearsal tests that simulated the launch. Monday was the first time they did it.
At the moment, the problem doesn’t seem to be with the engine, but rather with the system that cools the engine, he said.
“We need the engine to be at a cryogenically cold temperature so that when it starts, the cold fuel doesn’t shock it. So we needed a little more time to figure out what to do, “Sarafin said.
The team also saw a problem with the valve that lets air out of the inner tank. All of these problems made the team realise they needed more time, Sarafin said.
If the problem is serious, the team may need more time to fix it and roll the rocket stack back into the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center. This takes 3 1/2 days.
The launch team still has to figure out what’s wrong with the engine, so they’ll keep the rocket in its current state to collect data and figure out what needs to be done. NASA says that both the Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft are still stable.
Before the scrub, the launch team put the countdown on hold unintentionally while they worked on a plan to fix one of the rocket’s four engines.
This is because the launch team found a problem with engine #3’s engine bleed. No matter how hard people tried, they couldn’t change it.
During engine bleeds, hydrogen is cycled through the engine to get it ready for launch. Three of the four engines are working the way they should, but engine #3 had a problem.
“During the launch window, there were also a number of weather problems.
We couldn’t have gone at the beginning of the window because it was raining. Lightning in the area of the launchpad would have stopped us from going later in the window “Sarafin said.
Weather conditions were expected to be 80% good at the start of the window, which opened at 8:33 a.m. ET, but as that time got closer, the weather changed.
Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff went to Florida’s Kennedy Space Center to watch the launch. After the launch was delayed, they talked about how committed the US is to NASA’s Artemis programme.
“We had hoped that Artemis I would launch today, but the attempt gave us useful information as we test the most powerful rocket in history,” Harris said on Twitter. “We are still committed to the Artemis Program, and we will go back to the moon.”
The 322-foot-tall (98-meter-tall) stack is at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on Launchpad 39B.
Bill Nelson, who is in charge of NASA, talked about the delay soon after it was announced. He emphasised that Artemis I is just a test flight.
Nelson said, “We don’t launch until it’s right.” “On one engine, there is a problem with the gas going through the engine bleed. It just shows that this is a very complicated machine and system, and that all of those parts have to work together. The candle isn’t lit until it’s ready to go.”
It’s something Nelson knows about from his own life. As an astronaut, he was on the Space Shuttle’s 24th flight. It was wiped off the pad four times before it was done right on the fifth try.
“It wouldn’t have been a good day if we had launched on any of those scrubs,” he said.
After midnight, when the rocket started getting fuel, several problems came up.
Offshore storms that could have had lightning kept the team from starting to fuel the ship when they were supposed to at midnight.
At 1:13 a.m. ET, the hold was lifted, and the tanking process began to load supercold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen into the rocket’s core stage.
The team had to stop filling the tank with liquid hydrogen twice because of a leak and a pressure spike. However, they started filling the tank again for the core stage and the upper stage, also called the interim cryogenic propulsion stage.
A line of frost was also found on the inner stage flange. Engineers thought at first that the frost might mean there was a crack in the tank, but it turned out to be a crack in the foam on the outside. The team said that the problem was fixed because the crack in the foam didn’t mean there was a leak.
Communication between the Orion spacecraft and systems on the ground took 11 minutes longer than planned. The problem could have made it hard to start the terminal count, or the countdown that starts when there are 10 minutes left until liftoff. The problem was caused by a simple mistake in setting up, which the team was able to fix.
In addition to Harris’s visit, celebrities like Jack Black, Chris Evans, and Keke Palmer were going to be there. Josh Groban and Herbie Hancock were going to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and The Philadelphia Orchestra and cellist Yo-Yo Ma were going to play “America the Beautiful.”
A look at the mission
When Artemis I takes off, Orion’s trip to the moon, around the moon, and back to Earth will take 42 days and cover a total of 1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometers). When the capsule comes back to Earth, it will land in the Pacific Ocean near San Diego.
Even though there are no people on the passenger list, there are still people on board: three mannequins and a plush Snoopy toy.
The people on the Artemis I might sound a little strange, but each of them has a reason for being there. Snoopy will be the zero gravity indicator, which means that once the capsule gets to space, he will start to float around inside.
Commander Moonkin Campos, Helga, and Zohar are the names of the mannequins. They will be used to measure how much deep space radiation future crews might be exposed to and to test a new suit and shielding technology. Inside Orion is a biology experiment with seeds, algae, fungi, and yeast to see how life reacts to this radiation.
During the mission, cameras inside and outside of Orion will share pictures and videos, including live views from the Callisto experiment, which will show Commander Moonikin Campos in the commander’s seat. If you have a device that works with Amazon Alexa, you can ask it every day where the mission is.
You can expect to see views of Earthrise similar to those shown for the first time during Apollo 8, but with much better cameras and technology.
On the rocket, there is a ring that holds science experiments and technology shows. The 10 small satellites, which are called CubeSats, will break off and go their own ways to learn more about the moon and the environment in deep space.
The first mission of the Artemis programme will start a new phase of space exploration that will send different crews of astronauts to parts of the moon that haven’t been explored before and will eventually send crewed missions to Mars.
Before astronauts go to the moon on Artemis II and Artemis III in 2024 and 2025, the rocket and spacecraft will be tested and put through their paces for the first time.
In an earlier version of this story, the Artemis 1 stack on the launch pad was given the wrong height.