NASA’s planned launch of the Artemis I uncrewed flight test of the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion spacecraft was called off on Monday. According to the agency, the launch was scrubbed after one of the SLS’s four RS-25 engines failed to reach the correct temperature range for liftoff. While a date has not yet been set for another launch attempt, the next possible window is on Friday, Sept. 2.
“This is part of the space business and its part of particularly a test flight,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “We are stressing and testing this rocket and the spacecraft in a way that you would never do it with a human crew onboard. That’s the purpose of a test flight.”
NASA noted that several other issues were encountered during the two-day launch countdown, including “storms in the area that delayed the start of propellant loading operations, a leak at the quick disconnect on the 8-inch line used to fill and drain core stage liquid hydrogen, and a hydrogen leak from a valve used to vent the propellant from the core stage intertank.” The agency says it is currently evaluating data gathered during the Monday’s attempt. The mission management team is expected meet on Tuesday to “discuss the data and develop a plan forward.”
Artemis I is the first in a series of missions designed to land people on the lunar surface for the first time since 1972. Artemis II, the program’s first crewed flight test, is scheduled for mid-2024. The anticipated crewed Moon landing, Artemis III, is planned for 2025.