NASA eyes Saturday for second Artemis launch attempt

Space

(NewsNation) — NASA will try again Saturday to launch its Artemis moon mission.

The agency announced the new launch date during a Tuesday news conference. The first attempt was scrubbed Monday after the launch team discovered a fuel leak and engine issues.

“They have solved several problems along the way and they got to one that needed time to be solved,” Bill Nelson, NASA’s administrator, said Monday.

Artemis I is the first of three missions aimed at putting astronauts on the moon again, more than 50 years after the Apollo program first did so. The first launch will use NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to send an unmanned Orion capsule to the moon.

It will orbit the moon twice before beginning the journey back to Earth, using parachutes to slow down reentry speeds of up to 25,000 mph before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean near San Diego about six weeks after liftoff.

If all goes well, astronauts could be landing on the moon again as soon as 2025. And instead of spending just a few days on the surface, astronauts could stay on the moon for weeks, even months.

Along with lunar missions, NASA is also looking to make history by landing the first woman and first person of color on the moon.

Alexandra Doten, a space communications strategist, said Tuesday on “Rush Hour” that many expected NASA to set the launch for Friday, which was the next available opportunity.

“But they are taking that extra time … and will spend this entire week working on the rocket at the pad,” Doten said. “They aren’t going to launch this rocket until everything is perfect.”

Weather might also be a factor. Rain is expected both days, but Doten said there looks to be some clear opportunities on Saturday.

If unsuccessful on Saturday, NASA has another launch window on Sept. 5. Otherwise, the next available opportunity will be at the end of September or early October.

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