Artemis I rocket launch delayed for second time following fuel leak

NASA delayed the launch of its Artemis I rocket for a second time on Saturday after engineers detected a liquid hydrogen leak that they were unable to resolve.

A NASA blog post states that the rocket’s launch director called off the launch attempt at 11:17 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time after multiple troubleshooting efforts were not successful in fixing the leak.

The Space Launch System rocket was originally set to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Monday but was delayed after one of the rocket’s engines failed to condition to the correct temperature. A hydrogen leak also occurred on Monday, but the issue was resolved. 

NASA said that engineers are continuing to gather additional data. Leaders of the agency plan to hold a press conference on Saturday to discuss the issue and the rocket’s status.

NASA said in a blog post on its website at 7:24 a.m. that engineers stopped flowing the liquid propellant into the core stage, which serves as the backbone of the rocket, while they addressed the leak. They resumed flowing the liquid hydrogen into the core stage twice, but the leak reoccurred both times.

Launch controllers attempted to warm up the quick disconnect fitting, which is used to provide easy connection and disconnection of fluid and air lines, to get a tight seal but were unsuccessful.

The launch was scheduled to occur between 2:17 p.m. and 4:17 p.m. ET Saturday.

The Artemis program plans to send people back to the moon for the first time since 1972 in subsequent missions. 

The Orion exploration spacecraft, which will be unmanned, is planned to travel more than 40,000 miles past the moon before returning to Earth. NASA hopes to send astronauts, including the first woman and person of color to set foot on the moon, to the moon’s surface by 2025 or 2026.

Updated at 11:46 a.m.

Tags Artemis Artemis I Moon nasa

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