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NASA sets relaunch of Artemis moon rocket for Saturday after delay

Click to play video: 'NASA’s Artemis I moon mission launch scrubbed'
NASA’s Artemis I moon mission launch scrubbed
NASA's highly anticipated launch of its unmanned Artemis I rocked was scrubbed at the last minute on August 29. The mission is the first step in NASA's return to the moon's surface. Mike Armstrong explains what went wrong, and when the launch has been rescheduled – Aug 29, 2022

NASA will try again Saturday to launch its new moon rocket on a test flight, after engine trouble halted the first countdown this week.

Managers said Tuesday they are changing fueling procedures to deal with the issue.

The 98-meter rocket remains on its pad at Kennedy Space Center, with an empty crew capsule on top. It’s the most powerful rocket ever built by NASA.

Read more: NASA scrubs launch of new moon rocket due to fuel leak, engine problem

The Space Launch System rocket, or SLS, will attempt to send the capsule around the moon and back. No one will be aboard, just three test dummies. If successful, it will be the first capsule to fly to the moon since NASA’s Apollo program 50 years ago.

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During Monday’s launch attempt, one of the four main engines in the rocket’s core stage could not be chilled sufficiently prior to planned ignition moments before liftoff. The three others came up just a little short.

The chilling operation will be conducted a half-hour earlier for Saturday afternoon’s try, once fueling is underway at the pad, officials said.

Click to play video: 'NASA postpones Artemis launch due to technical problems'
NASA postpones Artemis launch due to technical problems

John Honeycutt, NASA’s program manager for the rocket, told reporters that the timing of this engine chilldown was earlier during successful testing last year, and so moving it sooner may do the trick.

Honeycutt also questioned the integrity of one engine sensor, saying it might have provided inaccurate data Monday. To change that sensor, he noted, would mean hauling the rocket back into the hangar, which would mean weeks of delay.

The $4.1 billion test flight is the opening shot in NASA’s Artemis moon-exploration program, named after the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology. Astronauts could strap in as soon as 2024 for a lap around the moon and actually attempt a lunar landing in 2025.

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