NASA was forced to delay the launch of Artemis after engineers found major damage to the rocket.
An engine leak along with a separate hydrogen leak was discovered as the rocket was inspected at around 7:30 am, just an hour before the scheduled launch time.
Thousands of space fans who had turned up to see the historic moon mission launch were left disappointed as NASA was forced to re-schedule the Artemis’ launch date to September 2.
According to Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Jonathan McDowell, NASA had failed to test for the issue in a launch dress rehearsal last week and said if it had conducted an engine “bleeding” process, the rocket, called Orion, could have been in space today.
“It’s one of many engine-related things that happens during the countdown,” he explained.
“I am skeptical they will try again on Friday, I think the delay is likely to be longer.”
NASA administrator Bill Nelson said that engineers are now gathering data on the engine.
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“We don’t launch until it’s right,” he said.
“This is a very complicated machine. ‘You don’t want to light the candle until it’s ready to go.”
The Artemis mission is the first step in NASA’s plan to land humans on the moon in three years’ time, a feat that has not happened since Apollo 17 landed on the lunar surface 50 years ago.
Artemis Mission 1 will launch an unmanned test flight around and beyond the moon, while Artemis 2 will aim to send humans on the same journey – the furthest distance humans have ever been into space before.
"This has never been tested before"
The launch of Artemis I has been cancelled by Nasa after an engine bleed that couldn't be rectified
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— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) August 29, 2022
The third and final ambitious (and typically woke) mission will involve NASA sending the first female astronaut, Charlie Blackwell-Thomas, and the first astronaut from a minority race to conduct research on the moon’s surface.
Around 30 percent of the control room personnel are now female.
“This mission goes with a lot of hopes and dreams of a lot of people. And we now are the Artemis generation,” said Nelson.
“We were in the Apollo generation. This is a new generation. This is a new type of astronaut.”
Orion is the most powerful rocket the world has ever seen. Its boosters are capable of producing 8.8 million pounds of thrust.
If the first flight goes ahead, it will travel 240,000 miles to the moon where it will enter an orbit 40,000 miles from the moon’s surface for six days, which could be extended to 21 days.
50 years after the last Apollo mission, NASA is getting ready to go back.
NASA’s most powerful rocket yet is set to blast off on its debut test flight, kicking off the US space agency’s Artemis mission to take humans back to the moon https://t.co/tByectbAIX pic.twitter.com/1vqfU5OBvf
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) August 29, 2022
The craft will then splash down in the Pacific Ocean.
Although there will be no human passengers in Orion on this mission, two test dummies will man the ship. The dummies have torsos made from soft material to mimic that of an adult female including ‘organs’ and ‘bones’. Women are more likely to develop cancer from radiation as they have more soft tissue.
The dummies each contain thousands of censors to monitor radiation exposure during the flight. One of the dummies will be wearing a radiation protection vest while the other won’t.
Also taking the trip in Orion will be 245 silver Snoopy pins, a Wallace and Gromit Shaun the Sheep toy, and 567 American flags.