Last week, we announced that NASA had to halt its Artemis 1 mission due to some technical issues with the rocket engine, the agency has now rescheduled the mission and it’s expected to take off on Sept. 27th with a “potential backup date planned for Oct. 2nd” just in case things do not go as planned.
According to a report, NASA earlier planned to make the retry on Sept. 23rd but then decided to reschedule after careful consideration of multiple logistical topics.
The Artemis 1 mission is meant to test NASA’s Space Launch System or SLS which is a megarocket to catapult an uncrewed Orion capsule around the Moon as part of the plan to bring humans back to the lunar surface by the year 2025.
The scrapped launch was supposed to happen on Sept. 3rd but the team detected a hydrogen leak that engineers couldn’t get rid of hence, the reschedule.
In order to ensure everything goes smoothly this time around, the agency has fixed the hydrogen leak which involved replacing the seal around the “Quick disconnect” system that helps funnel the freezing cold liquid hydrogen fuel into the rocket.
Also, engineers have a test scheduled for Sept. 21st in order to see if the quick disconnect holds up under the cryogenic conditions that the launch requires.
Another consideration is if NASA will have to test the rocket’s flight termination system’s batteries which the Space Force uses to destroy the rocket if something goes disastrously wrong during its flight.
In order to test the system, NASA will be required to roll the SLS back into the Vehicle Assembly Building which would usually take hours.
However, the Space Force can eventually decide whether NASA needs to proceed with the mission without testing the termination system.
The agency was also granted an extension to extend the rocket’s certification from 20 to 25 days while the Space Force is still deciding if it will grant the agency another one.
“NASA is continuing to respect the Eastern Range’s process for review of the agency’s request for an extension of the current testing requirement for the flight termination system and is providing additional information and data as needed,” NASA writes in the post.
“In parallel, the agency is continuing preparations for the cryogenic demonstration test and potential launch opportunities, should the request be approved.”
Hopefully, everything works out, NASA will make another attempt to launch the Artemis 1 mission on Sept. 27th with a 70-minute launch window opening at 11:37 AM ET.
Apart from that, NASA has also scheduled another mission called the Double Asteroid Redirect (DART) mission which is where the agency crashes a spacecraft into an asteroid. The DART mission is expected to take place on Sept. 26th while the agency also has a crewed Oct. 3rd mission to send astronauts to the ISS. The third mission is in collaboration with the private space travel company, SpaceX.