NASA’s Next-Gen Megarocket Artemis 1 Put on Hold

Story Highlights
  • Artemis 1 Mission countdown clock paused at T-40 minutes.
  • Teams working on trouble shooting plan for malfunctioning RS 25 engine.
  • Artemis 1 mission marks the maiden voyage of Orion and return of mankind on Moon after fifty years.

The return of humanity to the Moon has been paused at T-40 minutes. The colossal next-gen rocketship was all set for the long awaited debut launched on Monday on an uncrewed, six week test flight around the moon and back.

A malfunctioning RS-25 engine on the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the weather have been cited as reasons for the delay. The engine was to be bled with liquid hydrogen and oxygen to condition it before launch but team engineers noticed that one of the engines was not bleeding as expected. The launch director had signed off on a plant to troubleshoot one of the RS-25 engines which is malfunctioning. The troubleshooting plan did not work and now the hydrogen team has been asked to come up with a new plan to solve the issue.

The Orion SLS was trundled to the historic launchpad 39B earlier this month following weeks of final preps and ground tests. Last week, NASA officials concluded their flight readiness review declaring all systems were “go for launch.”

The 32-story-tall, two-stage Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and its Orion crew capsule were due for blast-off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, during a two-hour launch window opening at 8:33 a.m. EDT (1233 GMT).

In case of delay, NASA has selected Sept 2 and 5th as the backup launch dates.

More than a decade in development with years of delays and billions of dollars in budget overruns, the SLS-Orion spacecraft has so far cost NASA least $37 billion, including design, construction, testing and ground facilities.

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