It’s best to find out before the big day. NASA has announced that the brand new rocket that sent astronauts to the moon as part of the Artemis mission is returning to the garage for minor repairs after several technical issues were discovered during testing. American Space, April, Monday 18.
In early April, NASA began a general preflight rehearsal for the Artemis 1 mission. Unmanned, this is the first mission the United States intends to mark their return to the moon through the program, which they intend to send astronauts to by 2026. It’s a “behave as if” problem, ie reviewing all stages before the actual launch, stopping before the engine fires.
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For the 384,000-kilometer and dusty journey, NASA relies on its new SLS (Space Launch System) rocket, a so-called “Super Heavy” launcher, capable of carrying massive amounts of material to great distances. Rocket testing, however, is fraught with pitfalls. Between erratic weather, valve problems and traffic jams on the launch pad, NASA interrupted several rehearsals and then resumed several times. Planned to last forty-eight hours, it was circulated for several weeks.
Return to garage for repairs
Alas, on Monday, April 18, officials decided to cancel testing entirely. The rocket and Orion spacecraft that will eventually transport the astronauts will head to the assembly hangar. The team hopes to replace a faulty valve and take a closer look at a leak of liquid hydrogen on one of the service masts — the structure that brings fuel and oxidizer to the rocket before takeoff. “The leak was discovered during the tank filling operation and prevented the team from completing the test,” NASA details.
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Repairs will take weeks. Then, it is necessary to rehearse a rehearsal. As a result, the shooting window originally scheduled for June will undoubtedly be missed, and take-off will have to wait until this summer, or even September. The last human presence on our natural satellite dates back to 1972, with the Apollo 17 mission.