CTN NEWS – Nasa is delaying a decision on the timing of its next launch attempt for Artemis 1, the US space agency’s first human-rated moon rocket in 50 years, after calling off Monday’s scheduled liftoff late in the countdown because of an issue related to “engine bleed”.
Engineers at Nasa’s launch complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida, discovered the problem with one of the four core-stage engines of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket during the overnight loading of 2.76m liters (730,000 gallons) of liquid hydrogen and oxygen fuel needed to send the spacecraft off on its 1.3m-mile, 42-day journey to the far side of the moon and back.
They were unable to find a fix in time to meet a two-hour launch window that opened at 8.33 am (1.33 pm BST) on Monday, and afterward were troubleshooting the issue to assess readiness for the next available opportunity, on Friday 2 September.
Problems with the rocket, which is made by Boeing
Problems with the rocket, which is made by Boeing, first arose during a “hot fire” test in January last year, when the engines shut down one minute into a scheduled eight-minute run. The project at that stage was already almost three years behind schedule and $3bn (£2.55bn) over budget.
Critics say the ultimate cost to the US taxpayer of the Artemis program, projected to reach $93bn (£79bn) by 2025, and which has longer-term goals of placing the first humans on Mars in 15 to 20 years’ time, cannot be justified.
Nasa administrator, Bill Nelson, a former space shuttle astronaut.
But the Nasa tv administrator, Bill Nelson, a former space shuttle astronaut, said there was a greater purpose in placing new human footprints in lunar soil now than those of the 12 men of the Apollo program who did so over six missions in the past generation.
“We need to be on the moon for much longer periods of time than just landing like we used to, stayed a couple of days and left,” Nelson told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. “This time we’re going back, we’re going to live there, we’re going to learn there. We’re going to develop new technologies, all of this so we can go to Mars with humans.
SLS is designed and manufactured by Boeing.
SLS is designed and manufactured by Boeing. The Orion crew capsule is the brainchild of Lockheed Martin. And the European Space Agency supplies the service module, the powerhouse of the spacecraft for its lunar journey once the powerful solid rocket boosters and core stage of SLS have placed it beyond Earth’s gravitational pull.
The ESM will push Orion farther from Earth than any human-rated space vehicle has ever flown before, providing electricity, water, oxygen, and nitrogen and keeping the capsule on course and at the correct temperature before separating and burning up in the atmosphere on its return to Earth.
What do NASA stand for?
National Aeronautics and Space Administration