NASA made the very difficult decision to delay the launch of Artemis I to just two minutes after the two-hour launch window opened at 8:33 a.m. Eastern Time. Although disappointing, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said, “We don’t launch until it’s right.”
The long-awaited launch of Artemis I will have to wait a bit longer, as an engine bleed issue forced the team to scrub the launch this morning. When asked what an engine purge means on its Twitter account, NASA replied, “An engine purge is part of our regular pre-launch operations to prepare the engines. Teams prefer not to put super cold fuel in hot engines, so we use liquid nitrogen. through them first to cool them.”
Artemis I is the first in a series of missions that will bring humans back to the surface of the Moon, and beyond. This mission will not have human astronauts on board but will have several “mannequins” for the ride for testing purposes, as well as other preliminary tests.
“It’s only part of space activity, and it’s part, in particular, of a test flight,” Nelson commented after the delay was announced. “We’re stressing and testing this rocket and the spacecraft in a way you never would with a crew on board. That’s what a test flight is all about.”
As disappointed as the 25,000 NASA employees, dignitaries and other guests of Kennedy Space Center may have been to hear the news of the delay, everyone should agree that it was the right decision to make with a rocket of 4, $1 billion at stake. The SLS is the most powerful rocket ever built for the civilian space agency and will be the pure power behind all missions that bring astronauts back to the Moon for the next three years.
As for when the next launch will be attempted, NASA reports that the earliest date and time will be Friday, September 2 at 12:48 p.m. EST. If this launch date is missed for any reason, the next available date would be around September 5th. After that, the team had to take the massive rocket back to the Vehicle Assembly Building for servicing.
Stay tuned to HotHardware for any future updates regarding Artemis I and when the next launch might be.