Miami, Sep 3 (EFE).- For the second time in less than a week, tens of thousands of people who flocked to Florida’s Space Coast to witness the launch of the uncrewed Artemis I lunar mission went away disappointed Saturday after NASA called off the launch.
The launch director made the decision three hours before the scheduled 2:17 pm (18:17 GMT) liftoff of the Orion spacecraft from Launchpad 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.
“Teams encountered a liquid hydrogen leak while loading the propellant into the core stage of the Space Launch System rocket,” NASA said. “Multiple troubleshooting efforts to address the area of the leak by reseating a seal in the quick disconnect where liquid hydrogen is fed into the rocket did not fix the issue.”
The leak is a different problem from the one that caused the launch planned for last Monday to be scrubbed.
The next potential launch window for the first lunar mission mounted by the United States since Apollo 17 in 1972 is Sept. 5-6.
The mission plan calls for Orion to complete the 1.3 million mile roundtrip to the moon in just under 38 days before splashing down in the Pacific off the coast of California.
Artemis I will also deploy 10 small satellites, called CubeSats, tasked with collecting information on the moon and the deep space environment.
Orion is built to accommodate four astronauts, but on this mission, the capsule is occupied by three manikins and a stuffed animal.
The crewed Artemis II and Artemis III lunar missions are set for 2024 and 2025, respectively, as part of an ambitious program aimed at sending humans to Mars. EFE ar/dr