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NASA announced on Monday that its Artemis I SLS-Orion Spacecraft launch has been halted due to an issue with one of the rocket’s engines. Minutes after the spacecraft was scheduled to blast off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida earlier today, the US space agency explained that the launch of Artemis I — NASA’s first step towards putting humans back on the Moon — had been scrubbed. Meanwhile the next launch date will be announced at a later stage, according to NASA.
The Artemis I launch director halted the attempt to launch Artemis I on Monday at 8:34am EDT (6:04pm IST), NASA communications specialist Rachel Kraft said in a post on the space agency’s blog. According to NASA, both the Orion spacecraft, which is designed to carry astronauts to the Moon in the future, and the advanced Space Launch System (SLS) remained in a safe and stable configuration at the time the launch was halted.
“Launch controllers were continuing to evaluate why a bleed test to get the RS-25 engines on the bottom of the core stage to the proper temperature range for liftoff was not successful, and ran out of time in the two-hour launch window. Engineers are continuing to gather additional data,” the space agency explained.
“We don’t launch until it’s right,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson stated in a briefing, explaining the engine bleed issue affecting one of the engines. “You can’t go, there are certain guidelines. And I think it’s just illustrative that this is a very complicated machine, a very complicated system and all those things have to work. And you don’t want to light the candle, until it’s ready to go,” he added.
“We are stressing and testing this rocket and the spacecraft in a way that you would never do it with a human crew onboard. That’s the purpose of a test flight,” Nelson explained.
NASA is expected to announce the next Artemis I launch date in the future, after the issues with the engine are resolved. The US space agency had previously set backup launch dates on September 2 and September 5 for the Artemis I launch, but it is currently unclear if the rocket will be ready for launch by that date.