Second attempt to launch the Artemis-1 mission is canceled

(ORDO NEWS) — NASA canceled today’s second attempt to conduct the first launch of the Space Launch System rocket after failing to fix a liquid hydrogen leak during rocket fueling, which could push back the mission until October.

NASA has canceled a launch that was scheduled for a two-hour window opening at 9:17 PM UTC from Launch Complex 39B, three hours before it opened.

The mission leaders concluded that they had run out of time to fix the liquid hydrogen leak, discovered several hours earlier.

The controllers noticed a leak in the quick disconnect fitting for the liquid hydrogen supply line to the SLS main stage shortly after main stage refueling began.

This connection is different from the one that leaked on the first start attempt, and showed no signs of leaking either on the first start attempt or during previous countdown rehearsals.

The engineers made several attempts to put the choke back in place, first letting it warm up and then starting to feed liquid hydrogen into it again, believing that the change in temperature would seal it again. It didn’t work.

The second method was to stop the flow of hydrogen and close the valve, then use the helium pressure in the ground systems to force the fitting back into place. This also did not work, nor did a second attempt to heat and then cool the fitting.

Officials did not immediately announce a new launch date. The next launch opportunities are September 5 and 6, after which the current launch period closes and NASA will have to wait until at least the end of September to try again.

The 90-minute launch window will open at 21:12 GMT on September 5th and the 24-minute window will open at 21:57 GMT on September 6th.

In comments on NASA TV about an hour after the incident, NASA administrator Bill Nelson said the mission control team would meet later in the day to discuss whether the craft needed to be returned to the Assembly Building (VAB) for repairs.

“If they decide it’s needed, then the mission will be rescheduled for October,” he said, referring to the launch period, which will be open from October 17 to 31.

“We will fly when everything is ready. We will not fly early, especially now during the test flight,” he added, praising the launch team for their efforts. “They do everything right. They do everything by the rules.”

“This is a test flight,” he added. “There is a risk that we will not be able to take off.”


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