The POT has said it will make a second attempt to launch its next-generation lunar rocket on Saturday, September 3.
The announcement follows a failed attempt to send the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket into the sky on Monday after engineers discovered a problem with one of the engines shortly before liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA said it plans to launch the uncrewed Artemis I flight at 2:17 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 3. The launch window will remain open until 4:17 pm ET in case the countdown needs to stop at any point.
“We are now targeting Saturday September 3rd for the launch of the #Artemis I flight test around the moon,” the agency said in a tweet posted Tuesday. “The two-hour launch window opens at 2:17 pm ET (18:17 UTC).”
— NASA (@NASA) August 30, 2022
There was much disappointment when NASA called off the launch on Monday, with large crowds lining the Space Coast waiting to see the agency’s most powerful rocket to date fly into space, and many more watching online.
But the countdown clock stopped at the 40-minute mark when engineers detected a problem with the number three engine in the core stage of the SLS rocket.
Unable to resolve the issue in time, the team decided to withdraw.
Later the same day, NASA chief Bill Nelson commented on the situation, saying, “There are certain guidelines, and I think it’s just illustrative that this is a very complicated machine, a very complicated system, and all of those things. They have to work.”
He added: “You don’t want to light the candle until it’s ready to go.”
The Artemis I mission will usher in a new era of space travel that NASA hopes will eventually lead to the first humans reaching Mars. This first mission, however, is designed to test the new SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft. Once in space, the Orion capsule will fly around the moon, coming within 62 miles of the lunar surface, before returning to Earth in six weeks.
Artemis II will fly the same way but with astronauts on board, while Artemis III, which could take place as early as 2025, aims to put the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface.