A second attempt at launching the Artemis I moon rocket was pushed back after NASA failed to plug a fuel leak discovered during tanking. This is the second time in five days that technical issues have kept the spacecraft on the launchpad.
The space agency’s attempt for a rescheduled launch of the crewless capsule on Saturday afternoon was first delayed at about 9 a.m. as engineers began attempting to fix a hydrogen fuel leak in the engine section at the rocket’s bottom. NASA officially stopped the Saturday liftoff at about 11:20 a.m.
Engineers first attempted to fix the hydrogen leak by warming the connector and chilling it with cold fuel to stop the leak. After the first attempt was not successful, they tried to repressurize the leak with helium.
NASA said during a press conference on Saturday afternoon that Artemis I would not be launching before the period ends, which is through September 8. There is another launch period later in September if engineers are able to fix the leak without moving the massive rocket to the Vehicle Assembly Building for additional work. There is also another launch period in October that NASA may choose.
When the 32-story-tall Space Launch System (SLS) rocket launches, the crew capsule will carry three test dummies and fly around the moon and back over a 37-day flight test period.
If the first two Artemis missions succeed, NASA plans on landing astronauts back on the moon, including the first woman to set foot on the moon, as early as 2025.