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Officials at NASA are pushing back the next launch attempt for its Artemis I mega moon rocket by four days to September 27, the space agency announced Monday.
The Artemis mission team previously had been targeting September 23. October 2 is a potential backup date that is “under review,” according to NASA.
The space agency is still working through an issue with the rocket, called the Space Launch System or SLS, which sprung a leak as it was being fueled up with super-chilled liquid hydrogen during the last launch attempt at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, September 3. The repair work to the area of the hydrogen leak occurred over the weekend, according to NASA.
The space agency had been working toward testing the system that fuels the liquid hydrogen on September 17, but the date for that cryogenic test is now pushed back to September 21, NASA noted on its Artemis blog.
“The updated dates represent careful consideration of multiple logistical topics, including the additional value of having more time to prepare for the cryogenic demonstration test, and subsequently more time to prepare for the launch. The dates also allow managers to ensure teams have enough rest and to replenish supplies of cryogenic propellants,” NASA shared in the blog post.
The test on September 21 will include an engine bleed test, according to the agency. The mission team scrubbed the first Artemis I launch attempt on August 29 largely due to an issue encountered during the engine bleed, which chills the engines for launch, that officials believe was due to a faulty sensor.
The September 27 launch window is 70 minutes long – shorter than the 120-minute window available on September 23.
Officials at NASA said the space agency is continuing to provide information to the Eastern Range, which must grant a waiver to allow the rocket to remain on the launchpad.
“NASA is continuing to respect the Eastern Range’s process for review of the agency’s request for an extension of the current testing requirement for the flight termination system and is providing additional information and data as needed. In parallel, the agency is continuing preparations for the cryogenic demonstration test and potential launch opportunities, should the request be approved,” the blog stated.