Artemis I Launch to the Moon Scrubbed
At approximately 8:34 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the launch director decided to call off today's attempt to launch Artemis I. Both the Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft have maintained a secure and reliable configuration.
Monday was disappointing for the throngs of people who had gathered to watch what was supposed to be a thunderous liftoff of NASA's new moon rocket. The launch had been promised to be loud and dramatic. Among those disappointed were Vice President Kamala Harris and the second gentleman, Douglas Emhoff.
After the launch was postponed, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said on NASA Television, "You don't want to light the candle until it is ready to go." "That's just the way things work in the space industry."
The Space Launch System, a colossal rocket that stands 102 meters (322) tall and is designed to one day transport humans to the moon, was scheduled to make its maiden voyage on Monday's launch. The next weekend presents further options for launch for NASA; however, these opportunities are contingent on there being sufficient time to identify and resolve the issue. If it weren't the case, the abrupt temperature drop caused by the supercold propellants would force the metal engine parts to shrink suddenly.
The failure of a liquid hydrogen line to appropriately freeze one of the rocket's four core-stage engines prior to ignition was the cause of the delay in the launch on Monday. These preparations are necessary before the ignition of the engine.
During preliminary attempts to introduce a product or service, it is not unusual for technical issues to arise. In 1981, NASA made its first attempt to launch the space shuttle; however, the mission was aborted during the countdown. After that, two days later, it went live.
The countdown, which began on Saturday, proceeded without a hitch through the early morning hours of Monday, when the possibility of thunderstorms in the area caused a 45-minute delay in the process of adding 700,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to the propellant tanks of the rocket. The countdown had begun on Saturday.
There were no issues encountered while filling the tank with liquid oxygen; nevertheless, a leak was discovered in a fuel line that was attached to the base of the rocket during the filling process of the tank with liquid hydrogen. That was a repeat performance of an issue that surfaced in the course of a rehearsal countdown back in April.
Engineers were able to find a solution to that issue, and the process of filling the hydrogen tank with hydrogen again began.
The hydrogen problem that came up later in the countdown was different. During the final few seconds of the launch countdown, some liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen are rerouted so that it flows around the four engines to cool them down before the ignition process begins. When everything was checked this morning, all the oxygen lines and three hydrogen lines were functioning correctly.
The fourth hydrogen line, however, did not open all the way up.
This was the first time the engine was allowed to cool down before launch, which typically takes place in the final few seconds before liftoff. The mission management believed that the rocket had met the critical test objectives, so they proceeded forward with preparations for the launch even though the dress rehearsals of the countdown procedures earlier this year had to be cut short due to technical problems.
During the countdown for Monday, a chill-down test was introduced at an earlier point to facilitate debugging if an issue arose.
Following a number of failed attempts to resolve the issues, the launch was canceled.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson Remarks on Artemis I Launch Attempt