No Take-Off: Hydrogen Leak Sets Back Artemis I Launch

31st Aug 2022
No Take-Off: Hydrogen Leak Sets Back Artemis I Launch

On 29th August, we eagerly awaited the launch of Artemis I. However, NASA postponed the unmanned moon launch due to a hydrogen leak. 

NASA engineers could not work around a liquid hydrogen line problem on 29th August. Now, the world’s most powerful rocket is now likely to lift off from Cape Canaveral on`Friday, 2nd September, instead. 

What is the Artemis project?

The Artemis project seeks to put people on the Moon again. Artemis acts as a stepping stone to future Mars missions. 

The first mission, which was set-back this week, involves a 42-day uncrewed flight around the moon. It will test the Orion spacecraft and huge rocket that astronauts will ultimately travel in.

While Artemis I is in space, it will deploy 10 CubeSats. A CubeSat is a kind of miniaturised satellite, and each will carry out a number of different types of tasks in deep space, from hunting for water ice on the Moon to assessing how radiation impacts yeast DNA. 

Discovery a liquid hydrogen leak

The launch was delayed during the fueling process, which happened just 40 minutes prior to the scheduled take-off time. 

Just minutes before the lift-off window opened at 8.33 am local time in Florida, Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, the launch director, made the decision to scrub the ascent, after engineers were not able to find a solution to the coolant problem. 

NASA said the following:

“Launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson has called a scrub of the attempt of the launch of Artemis 1.

“The issue that came up was an engine bleed which couldn’t be remedied, but the rocket is currently in a stable configuration.

“It was mostly tanked, but not completely tanked.

“Engineers are now working on a plan to continue gathering data about this particular engine and the bleed that didn’t work out.”

There is no word yet that the issues have been ironed out with Artemis I. We will keep you posted. However, there is hope that the launch could go ahead on Friday, 2nd September.

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