NASA has delayed the launch of the Artemis I mission due to the problems with an engine of the SLS rocket.
The earliest opportunity to launch the rocket is now on September 2, NASA said.
The countdown was stopped at T-40 minutes (40 minutes before the planned launch) after the mission team noticed problems with engine no. 3 of the rocket’s core stage.
According to commentary on NASA’s livestream of the event, a troubleshooting plan was initiated after the problems with engine bleed were noticed, forcing the team to put the launch on unplanned hold.
Following a lengthy discussion with the mission team, the launch director decided to scrub the eagerly awaited launch and begin gathering data on the problem, NASA said.
The launch of #Artemis I is no longer happening today as teams work through an issue with an engine bleed. Teams will continue to gather data, and we will keep you posted on the timing of the next launch attempt. https://t.co/tQ0lp6Ruhv pic.twitter.com/u6Uiim2mom— NASA (@NASA) August 29, 2022
Artemis I mission was intended to carry the Orion spacecraft which is expected to fly around the Moon and then return back to Earth over a month later.
The mission will serve as the first step in NASA’s new Moon landing program, which is set to culminate with the Artemis 3 crewed landing, now scheduled for 2025.
According to NASA, the SLS rocket can generate over 8.8 million pounds of thrust, which is more than the previous record holder, the Saturn V (7.8 million pounds) or the SpaceX Falcon Heavy (5.1 million pounds).
It is also designed to be upgradeable, with subsequent versions having more power and improved payload capacity.
Originally intended to be launched in 2017, the SLS suffered from numerous delays and other problems during its development, and continues to be highly controversial.
The engine problems followed another minor hiccup during launch preparations, when NASA was loading propellant into the rocket.