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NASA Says SLS Moon Rocket Lost Some Pieces During Take Off
On Wednesday, the first chapter in NASA’s Artemis Moon mission's history finally launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. However, the space agency’s uber-expensive Space Launch System (SLS) rocket seems to have lost some pieces while it was taking off. While that sounds problematic for a spacecraft, NASA’s spokespersons say it won’t affect the spacecraft.
NASA officials also commented on the potential "debris liberation" of pieces from the spacecraft. "NASA's Nail says the launch team has been studying a new issue: The 'possible liberation' of the RTV material (a type of caulk)," tweeted Michael Sheetz, CNBC space reporter ahead of the successful Artemis launch. "There is a sensor that 'is loose' and 'is likely to come after launch.'"
Will It Hamper The Mission?
While losing some pieces during the launch sounds serious, the reporter added that the space agency assessed the situation and learned that there’s nothing to worry about.
NASA's Nail says the launch team has been studying a new issue: The "possible liberation" of the RTV material (a type of caulk). There is a sensor that "is loose" and "is likely to come after launch."— Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) November 16, 2022
But debris trajectory analysis found "no additional risk."
"Debris trajectory analysis found 'no additional risk,'" the tweet further read. The Twitter thread noted that NASA’s Nail claimed that the sensor connected with RTV caulking "was just removed."
"Assuming the RTV comes loose," Sheetz continued, "it's expected to hit a 'rigid structure' of the cone-shaped adapter between Orion and the ICPS that can 'withstand the impact.'"
While it’s too soon to decide whether pieces flew off NASA’s long-awaited Moon rocket -- even if it did, the space agency has assured that it won’t affect their mission in any way.
NASA Artemis I Mission Goals
The Artemis I mission is carrying an uncrewed Orion capsule aboard the SLS vehicle into Moon’s orbit. The mission will lay the groundwork for upcoming Artemis missions that will witness humans return to the lunar surface. The space agency has plans to set up a sustainable human base on the lunar surface.
The Artemis II mission will ferry astronauts to the Moon’s orbit in 2023, while the Artemis III mission will be launched in 2024 or 2025, and will witness astronauts touchdown on the lunar surface first time since the 1970s.
NASA Shares Timelapse Of The Launch
NASA also shared a video of the Artemis I launch. In the video, a NASA commentator can be heard saying, "This view of Earth captured from a human-rated spacecraft not seen since 1972, during the final Apollo stages some 50 years ago. The views of our blue marble in the blackness of space now capturing the imagination of a new generation — the Artemis generation."