NASA Reveals New Launch Date for Artemis 1 Moon Rocket

by Lauren Boisvert
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NASA has announced the new date for the Artemis 1 launch after the previous launch on August 29 had to be scrapped. Due to an engine cooling issue, the rocket did not launch as it was scheduled to. Instead, NASA rescheduled the launch until the Artemis team could confidently resolve the issue. 

At a Glance

  • NASA previously scrubbed the Artemis 1 launch on August 29 after launch controllers discovered they were unable to cool Engine No. 3
  • The new launch window is scheduled for September 3
  • If weather conditions cause that window to also be scrubbed, Artemis 1 will launch on September 5

Artemis 1 Set for September Launch After Cooling Issue Addressed

Launch controllers were fueling the Space Launch System mega-rocket when they noticed Engine No. 3 wasn’t cooling properly. For the rocket to handle its cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellant. 

“Launch controllers condition the engines by increasing pressure on the core stage tanks to bleed some of the cryogenic propellant to the engines to get them to the proper temperature range to start them,” NASA reported in a statement on August 29. “Engine 3 is not properly being conditioned through the bleed process, and engineers are troubleshooting.”

Now, NASA has set a new launch window for the unmanned SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft. Artemis 1 will launch no earlier than Saturday, September 3 at 2:17 pm ET. They have a 2-hour launch window and 60% chance of good weather, according to Space.com. If the weather does not allow for a Sept. 3 launch, the rocket will launch on Sept. 5 instead. 

Engineers also detected a hydrogen leak in the SLS Core Booster during countdown. They will address this issue before launch. As far as getting Engine No. 3 to the correct temperature, launch controllers will allegedly begin chilling the engines earlier than they had on August 29. This way, the engines will have time to get down to the required temperature of -420 degrees Fahrenheit.

NASA Holds Briefing On Scrubbed Launch and New Window

On Tuesday, August 30, NASA held a briefing announcing the new launch window and discussing the scrubbed Artemis 1 launch from Monday. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson spoke about the difficulties of knowing when a launch is going to go right or wrong.

“This is a very complicated machine, a very complicated system, and all those things have to work, and you don’t want to light the candle until it’s ready to go,” said Nelson. Referring to the launch delays, he said, “It’s just part of the space business and it’s part of, particularly, a test flight.”

The Artemis Project is the first foray back to the Moon for the US since the 1970s. NASA is planning for a more permanent base camp on the Moon’s surface. This includes an orbiting space station where astronauts will live. This will also include the Gateway, a transfer system allowing for travel from the space station to the base camp.

This historic mission will not only bring in more concrete information about the Moon, but it also takes the first woman and the first person of color to the Moon. Currently, Artemis 1 is unmanned, but Artemis 2–currently scheduled to launch sometime in May 2024–will have a full crew.

Outsider.com