NASA Sets Third Launch Attempt for Artemis I Moon Mission

by Lauren Boisvert

NASA shared today, Sept. 23, that it is planning another attempt at launching Artemis I. The next launch window occurs on Tuesday, Sept. 27, during the week that Tropical Depression Nine could possibly hit. During a recent press conference, NASA announced that the window opens at 11:37 am ET.

According to a report from ABC News, there is a 20% chance of favorable weather on Sept. 27. Tropical Depression Nine could possibly hit Florida around that time, causing further delays. Tom Whitmeyer, the deputy associate administrator for NASA’s exploration systems development, claimed at the conference that they are going forth with the launch despite weather concerns.

“It’s still a tropical depression number nine, it’s not a named storm,” said Whitmeyer. “We really want to continue to try to get as much information as we can so we can make the best possible decision for the hardware.”

NASA will make a decision on Saturday to go ahead with the launch on Tuesday as planned or to scrub the launch yet again. According to a press release from NASA, the launch team discovered yet another hydrogen leak on Artemis I on Wednesday. They claimed they addressed and resolved the issue.

NASA Plans Next Launch Date for Artemis I As Objectives Are Met in Preparation

There were four main objectives for the recent preparation this week, which were all met according to NASA. The first objective was to address the hydrogen leak identified in previous launch attempts. Launch teams also utilized new techniques for loading propellants into the rocket and accounting for temperature and pressure changes, fuelling slowly to avoid leaks. Teams also utilized the kick-start bleed, which directs liquid hydrogen to the engines while filling the core stage tank at the same time. They also conducted a pre-pressurization test.

Previously, two launches were scrubbed due to various issues like the hydrogen leak and an engine cooling problem. The initial launch date was August 29 and the second date was September 3. In a statement put out on Sept. 3, NASA explained the issues.

“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,” the statement read. The troubleshooting did not yield any results, and the launch was scrubbed yet again. NASA cited the hydrogen leak as the main issue.

“Teams encountered a liquid hydrogen leak while loading the propellant into the core stage of the Space Launch System rocket,” NASA announced in another statement. “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.”

Now, it seems the tests have proved fruitful, and the only thing to worry about is the weather.