Despite suffering a glitch recently, NASA is planning to get the Artemis 1 moon mission to lift off on September 3 as per the announcement made by the agency on August 30. The crucial mission was aborted in its first launch attempt on August 29 due to a technical issue.
The Artemis 1 will be launched from Kennedy Space Centre’s Pad 39 B in Florida if everything goes as per plans.
One can watch the event on Space.com during the two-hour window at 1817 GMT.
What is Artemis Moon Launch?
The NASA Artemis program is launching its first mission, aptly named Artemis 1.
Its objective is to set up a human presence on and around the moon by the decade’s end. The new Space Launch System rocket will be the first flight of this mission, and the SLS rocket’s long journey in the lunar orbit will not be manned by any crew.
During the countdown on Monday’s lift-off, a team member of Artemis 1 saw that one of the four RS- 25 engines were not cooling to the desired temperature. These engines power the rocket during its core stage and require it to achieve a temperature of minus 250 degree Celsius before ignition.
According to John Honeycutt, the SLS program manager at the Marshall Space Flight Centre at NASA in Alabama, thermal conditioning is required so that the rocket does not suffer any shock during the countdown of the start of the engines.
The mission team members saw that engine 1,2 and 4 was close to the temperature mark. Still, engine 3 was roughly minus 230 degrees Celsius and off the mark.
During Monday’s countdown, the Artemis 1 team could not troubleshoot this issue, and the attempt to launch was called off. However, the mission team, including Honeywell, has found out about the faulty sensor in engine three and feels they can fix the issue now.
During a briefing, Honeycutt and the team said that replacing the faulty sensor would mean towing the Artemis 1 stack from Pad 39B back to the Vehicle Assembly building in KSC. They think it is unnecessary now and plan to go ahead with the Saturday launch attempt with a few countdown adjustments.
The moon mission team wants to start the engine cooling process earlier – around half an hour to 45 minutes compared to last time. In the meantime, the Artemis mission team will continue to study and analyze data for a few days before September 3. The idea is to explore and map out scenarios to ensure that the new approach is prudent and justified.
The team of Artemis 1 had conducted several wet dress rehearsals at pad 39 B before and omitted many steps. However, the launch on Monday encountered a new problem.
If all technical signs are okay for a launch attempt on Saturday, there is another factor to contend with for this moon mission. There are high chances of weather violations holding up the launch.