- NASA’s next-gen space vehicle is next slated to lift off Friday, at 12:48pm
- Engine cooling problems and a valve issue led to the mission manager calling a halt to Monday’s launch
- The unmanned Artemis 1’s mission is to circle the moon and return to earth
- NASA will broadcast the launch on Youtube (link below)
UPDATE: After months of anticipation, NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion Spacecraft, together the first mission in the Artemis Program, was set for blastoff Monday — an unmanned, 42 day trip for the Orion crew capsule to the moon and beyond before coming back to earth. But weather delays, a hydrogen leak, an engine cooling problem and a malfunctioning valve all combined to cause launch managers put a stop to the countdown. They will try again on Friday at 12:48pm.
America’s road back to the moon begins in Florida, on the historic launch pad 39B, perhaps as early as 8:33am this morning. That’s the earliest possible launch time, according to NASA, but delays are possible due to weather. The mission is to fly the unmanned Orion spacecraft to the moon and orbit there for an extended period of time before returning the capsule to safely to earth. The total mission duration is slated to last 42 days.
The space agency has a two-hour launch window to wait for clear skies, but if the weather doesn’t cooperate, NASA says they plan to reschedule the launch for Friday.
The name “Artemis” was chosen for NASA’s latest lunar program as a callback to the Apollo program. In Greek mythology, Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and a goddess associated with the Moon. The original Apollo program landed 12 astronauts on the moon and returned all of them safely to earth.
While NASA intends to return astronauts to the moon in the next few years, the Artemis 1 launch vehicle is unmanned. It will launch with the help of two solid fuel rocket boosters that will separate from the main vehicle similar to the way the Space Shuttle’s boosters performed. After booster separation, the orange-colored core stage, powered by four RS-25 engines, will accelerate the rocket to 17,000 miles per hour over eight minutes of flight time.
After that, the launch vehicle stage adapter will separate, and the Orion spacecraft, comprised of an engine and fuel tanks, a service module, and an unmanned capsule, will power its way to the moon.
Here’s the official NASA channel streaming the launch live.