NASA delayed the Sept. 3 launch of Artemis I due to leaking issues with the fuel. The mission was delayed on the day of the launch as engineers noticed a leak when they started to fill the rocket’s fuel tanks. The leak in the fuel tank could emit hydrogen gas, which is a flammable substance and poses a threat to the safety of the mission. The pressure of the fuel lines was also altered while engineers were cooling the lines down to the temperature needed to store the hydrogen.
The Artemis I mission requires a specific location of the moon in its orbit around the Earth in order to be successful. Because of the problems with the fuel lines, NASA missed their initial launch window. The next opportunity to launch is not until Sept. 23 or 27.
At the time of this publication, NASA has not officially announced a new launch date.
The delay has sparked other adjustments for the Artemis I mission. The Flight Termination System is a battery-operated system that allows for the rocket to self-destruct in order to avoid catastrophic collisions if it were to swerve off the course. The batteries for this system are only certified for 25 days. NASA is currently seeking permission from the US Space Force to change the batteries on the launch pad.
If the request is denied, NASA will have to return Artemis I to the Vehicle Assembly Building in order to replace the batteries there. Artemis I will only be able to launch in this September if they are able to change the batteries on the launch pad. Moving the rocket back to the Vehicle Assembly Building to replace the batteries will require NASA to push the new launch date back further and prevent the launch from happening this month.
The Artemis I mission is a flight test “to demonstrate the Orion heat shield at lunar return re-entry conditions, demonstrate operations and facilities during all mission phases, and retrieve the spacecraft after splashdown,” according to the NASA website.
Provided the Artemis I mission succeeds, NASA is planning to do another launch to the moon. The Artemis II mission will aim to land the first woman and first person of color on the moon.
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