CAPE CANAVERAL – NASA on Saturday halted a countdown and postponed a planned attempt to launch the first test flight of its giant next-generation rocket, the first mission to the agency’s Moon-Mars-Artemis program for the second time in five days.
The latest attempt to launch the 32-story Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and its Orion capsule came after repeated failed attempts by technicians to fix a leak of supercooled liquid hydrogen propellant pumped into the vehicle’s mid-phase fuel, armor cleaned.
Pre-flight operations were officially canceled for the day by Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Artemis I launch director, about three hours before the scheduled opening of the two-hour launch window at 2:17 p.m. EDT (1817 GMT).
There was no immediate word on a time frame for another launch attempt for the mission, codenamed Artemis I. However, NASA could schedule another attempt on Monday or Tuesday.
NASA chief Bill Nelson said mission officials would meet later Saturday to discuss a future launch opportunity, adding there was a chance the rocket could be returned to its building from assembly for further troubleshooting and repairs.
- Editor/ main report by Reuters