NASA again postpones the launch of its next-generation rocket
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) – NASA on Saturday halted for the second time in five days the countdown to the launch of its giant next-generation rocket, and again postponed the first test flight of the first mission of the American space agency’s Artemis program because of a problem when refueling.
The latest attempt to launch the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and its Orion capsule around the Moon, has been called off after technicians repeatedly tried unsuccessfully to fix a leak of ultra-cold liquid hydrogen during tank filling operation.
The rocket is to propel a named uncrewed capsule around the moon for a six-week test flight to prepare the two aircraft to reach cruising speed for a crewed mission scheduled for 2024.
Five decades after the end of the Apollo mission era, the SLS rocket is described as the most powerful and complex in the world. It is the most massive vertical launch system ever built by NASA since the Saturn V rocket for Apollo.
If the first two Artemis missions are successful, NASA plans to send astronauts to the Moon in 2025, including a woman for the first time. Many experts, however, believe that this timeline should be longer.
We have to go back to 1972 to find traces of the last human steps on the Moon, as part of the Apollo 17 mission.
The Artemis program aims to make it possible to establish a long-term base on the Moon in order to make trips to Mars – a hypothesis that NASA is considering for the post-2030 horizon.
(Joey Roulette in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Gilles Guillaume for the French version)
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