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NASA Aborts First Launch Attempt Of Artemis 1 Moon Mission; Here’s The Reason
NASA has officially canceled the launch of Artemis 1, which was slated to take flight on Monday. The mission was meant to be NASA’s first-ever voyage with the super expensive Space Launch System, in a series of missions to set up a base on the Moon.
"The launch of #Artemis I is no longer happening today as teams work through an issue with an engine bleed," NASA tweeted. "Teams will continue to gather data, and we will keep you posted on the timing of the next launch attempt."
The launch of #Artemis I is no longer happening today as teams work through an issue with an engine bleed. Teams will continue to gather data, and we will keep you posted on the timing of the next launch attempt. https://t.co/tQ0lp6Ruhv pic.twitter.com/u6Uiim2mom— NASA (@NASA) August 29, 2022
Well, it’s disappointing for both NASA and space enthusiasts, especially considering the hype around the launch and the media attention it received. Even vice president Kamala Harris was present to witness history being made.
What Caused The Launch Scrub?
But calling it unexpected wouldn’t be fair. A rocket launch can get canceled due to many reasons, as the process involves an immense level of complexity. And, it becomes more likely in case of an untested new rocket.
Besides, the space agency is under immense pressure on the SLS specifically, after years of delay and spending over $10 billion on the rocket. The launch scrub will only add to that pressure on NASA. The rocket was supposed to ferry the uncrewed Orion capsule into space, where it was meant to orbit around the Moon and return.
NASA officials said the launch was canceled due to an engine bleed issue while propellants were being loaded. Unfortunately, the teams weren’t able to address the issue during an earlier dress rehearsal. The officials also said that the launch was the only way to test it.
Slight Hiccup For NASA’s Lunar Ambitions
NASA hasn’t announced when the next attempt to launch the expensive rocket will take place. While the space agency has backup dates, including September 2 and 5, it remains to be seen if the issues are resolved by then.
NASA will be asked to return the rocket to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center if it is unable to launch the rocket, reports The Verge. The team at VAB will reevaluate the flight termination system, which explodes the rocket if things go south during the launch.
Once the launch of Artemis 1 is successful, NASA will send the crewed Artemis 2 mission, and Artemis later in 2024, which will witness astronauts return to the lunar surface. Well, that will only happen once NASA gets the first step right.