NASA has had to cancel its Artemis I Moon rocket launch again after problems arose this morning during the fueling stage.
A leak was spotted as engineers tried to fill up the Moon rocket with liquid hydrogen and the problem could not be resolved in time to make the 2:17pm ET (7:17pm BST) launch time.
The mission was officially canceled at 11:20am ET.
This is the second time Nasa has had to cancel the Artemis I launch.
The rocket was originally supposed to launch on Monday, August 29 but also faced fuelling issues and bad weather conditions.
Nasa is said to be aiming for September 5 or 6 as its new launch but hasn’t confirmed a time or date yet.
If the US space agency doesn’t launch the rocket in early September, it may be forced to push the launch back by weeks.
After the first cancellation, the US space agency’s Administrator Bill Nelson said: “We don’t launch until it’s right.”
He stressed the importance of getting this unmanned test right and not launching until it is.
The launch of the huge Space Launch System rocket, along with the unmanned Orion capsule and European Service Module, was canceled today after several attempts to troubleshoot the engine problems.
Artemis I was originally expected to blast off between 2:17pm ET (7:17pm BST) and 4:17pm ET (9:17pm BST) from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Hundreds of thousands of spectators are said to have flocked to Florida’s Space Coast to try and watch the launch.
They’ll now have to wait for Nasa to announce the next launch date and time.
What is Artemis I?
Artemis I is the first part of Nasa’s hotly-anticipated campaign to put humans back on the Moon.
Following years of delays, it was scheduled to finally launch from Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center in Flordia on Monday, August 29.
However, the launch date was pushed back to September 3 due to an error while fuelling the mission’s Space Launch System megarocket.
Now the launch will be pushed back again.
When the flight does finally go ahead, the rocket will fire an uncrewed Orion capsule beyond Earth’s orbit.
The capsule, loaded with scientific instruments and a couple of mannequins, will then detach and begin a 42-day tour of space.
It will travel around the Moon and back to simulate the lunar flight that will eventually be undertaken by a team of astronauts.
The flight will allow for the testing of hardware ahead of Nasa’s plan to land the first woman and the first person of colour on the Moon by 2025.
That crewed mission is being referred to as Artemis III and a lot has to happen before it can take place.
This is a developing story…
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