‘Safety Is Always First’: NASA Engineers To Meet About Future Of Artemis Moon Mission

NASA scrubbed the launch of its Artemis I mission on Monday, however scientists on the area company have been pouring over information from the try in hopes of sending the spacecraft within the coming days, step one in a sequence of launches that would see astronauts headed towards the moon for the primary time in a half century.

The principle problem Monday got here after engineers couldn’t get one of many rocket’s 4 engines to the right temperature wanted to start out them at liftoff. NASA mentioned the Artemis staff tried to rapidly repair the issue earlier than the scheduled departure time, however weren’t in a position to take action earlier than a two-hour launch window closed.

The area company mentioned engineers have been evaluating information from the try and the mission’s administration staff would collect Tuesday to debate the best way to transfer ahead. The following launch may happen on backup days on Friday, simply earlier than 1 p.m. native time, or Monday, climate allowing, or doubtlessly be pushed again by greater than a month.

The choice was a disappointment for 1000’s of rocket-watchers who drove to Florida’s Kennedy House Heart, together with Vice President Kamala Harris. However NASA mentioned it wouldn’t hearth up the rocket till doing so was secure, regardless of years of delays which have beleaguered the $40 billion challenge.

Mike Sarafin, the Artemis mission supervisor, advised reporters Friday was “definitely in play” for one more launch, however mentioned engineers could be sifting via information from Monday’s try to ensure every thing was so as.

“We’re going to play all nine innings here,” Sarafin mentioned throughout a press briefing on Monday evening. “We’re not ready to give up yet.”

NASA’s Artemis 1 rocket sits at pad 39-B on the Kennedy House Heart hours earlier than a scheduled launch on August 29, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch of the moon rocket was postponed attributable to a problem with one of many rocketâs engines.

Picture by Paul Hennessy/Anadolu Company through Getty Photographs

NASA's next-generation moon rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with its Orion crew capsule perched on top, stands on launch pad 39B in preparation for the Artemis 1 mission, at Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. August 25, 2022.
NASA’s next-generation moon rocket, the House Launch System (SLS) rocket with its Orion crew capsule perched on high, stands on launch pad 39B in preparation for the Artemis 1 mission, at Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. August 25, 2022.

“We are going to give the team time to rest, first of all, and then come back fresh tomorrow and reassess what we learned today and then develop a series of options,” he added. “It’s too early to say what the options are.”

Invoice Nelson, NASA’s administrator, mentioned the rocket was “brand new,” including it wouldn’t “fly until it’s ready.”

“I think it’s just illustrative that this is a very complicated machine, a very complicated system, and all those things have to work,” Nelson mentioned in the course of the press convention Monday.

The Artemis mission will take a look at NASA’s House Launch System, a robust rocket, that can propel the Orion spacecraft past the moon. The mission can be unmanned (holding three humanoid dummies), however the Orion craft will finally have the ability to maintain astronauts and start a brand new period of area exploration. People haven’t stepped foot on the moon because the final Apollo mission in 1972, and NASA has pledged future efforts would see the primary girl and the primary individual of shade step foot on the lunar floor.

When it does finally go away, Artemis I’ll orbit the Earth earlier than being propelled in the direction of the moon. The spacecraft will fly inside 60 miles of the moon’s floor as NASA screens its methods, then go on into deep retrograde orbit for slightly below per week.

The total mission will final 4 to 6 weeks earlier than the Orion spacecraft reenters the Earth’s ambiance, touring some 25,000 mph and producing temperatures approaching 5,000 levels Fahrenheit.

“After about four to six weeks and a total distance traveled exceeding 1.3 million miles, the mission will end with a test of Orion’s capability to return safely to the Earth,” NASA says of the mission.

The Artemis I launch, if it strikes ahead, will cap an invigorating summer time for the nation’s area company. The heralded James Webb House Telescope has been transmitting magical photographs from deep area since July, gorgeous cosmologists and astronomers and ushering in a brand new period of stargazing.