NASA Cancels Artemis 1 Moon Rocket Launch for a Second Time

by Samantha Whidden

Days after postponing Artemis 1’s original launch earlier this week, NASA has officially pulled the plug on the shuttle’s second attempt. 

As previously reported, Artemis 1’s launch was put on the back burner on August 29th. This was due to an engine cooling issue as well as a hydrogen leak. Launch controllers and engineers created a plan to make sure the rocket’s engineers were able to get down to the necessary temperature. The temp is supposed to be -420 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this is notably the first of many issues with the rocket. 

In a statement, NASA revealed more concerns about Artemis 1. “While liquid oxygen loading into the interim cryogenic propulsion stage continues and core stage tanks continue to be replenished with propellants, engineers are troubleshooting an issue conditioning one of the RS-25 engines (engine 3) on the bottom of the core stage.”

NASA seemed to be prepared for the launch of Artemis 1 in the early hours of Saturday (September 3rd). But the organization revealed another liquid hydrogen leak was detected once again. “After the third troubleshooting attempt, the liquid hydrogen leak has occurred again. Teams are discussing next steps.”

However, NASA announced the launch attempt is scrubbed. “Teams encountered a liquid hydrogen leak while loading the propellant into the core stage of the Space Launch System rocket. Multiple troubleshooting efforts to address the area of the leak by reseating a seal in the quick disconnect where liquid hydrogen is fed into the rocket did not fix the issue. Engineers are continuing to gather additional data.”

NASA Is Reportedly Aiming For September 5th or 6th As New Launch Date for Artemis 1

Meanwhile, The Sun reports that NASA is considering September 5th or 6th as the next attempt launch date for Artemis 1. However, the date and time haven’t officially been confirmed yet. 

NASA’s administration, Bill Nelson, previously addressed the situation. He stated the U.S. space agency will not launch Artemis 1 until “it’s right.” The media outlet notes that the rocket is the first part of NASA’s new campaign to bring humans back to the moon. Although there were years of delays, the original date for the launch was last Monday (August 29th). 

Artemis 1 is notably equipped with scientific instruments and mannequins that will detach and have a 42-day tour in space. It will travel around the moon and back as a simulation of lunar flight. This will eventually be the same path that a team of astronauts will make in the future. 

The media outlet further reports that the Artemis 1 flight would allow for testing of hardware ahead of NASA’s future plans. These plans include getting the first woman and first person of color on the moon by 2025.