The US space agency was forced to reschedule after a serious engine malfunction was detected just before launch time.
NASA has set a new launch date for its Artemis lunar mission, hoping to send its rocket into space on Saturday after a previous attempt failed earlier this week. Lunar mission manager Mike Sarafin announced the new date during a news conference Tuesday, saying the Artemis team had met earlier in the day to schedule the next launch.
“We are going to reconvene the mission management team on Thursday, September 1 to review our flight logic and overall readiness.” Sarafin said, adding “We also agreed to do some platform work to address the leak we saw and also agreed to move our release date to Saturday 3rd September.”
However, although the space agency selected Saturday as its tentative launch date, Space Force Weather Launch Officer Mark Burger warned that conditions may not be ideal.
“The probability of a weather violation at any point in the countdown still seems pretty high to me,” he said at the same press conference, adding that while there is a 60% chance that bad weather will prevent the launch, “I still think we have a very good chance.”
While the Artemis mission was originally intended to lift off on Monday, a major problem with one of the rocket’s four liquid-fuel engines was detected just hours before launch, forcing a delay to allow NASA technicians resolve the malfunction.
The rocket, the largest ever built by NASA, will be unmanned for the mission and will orbit the moon for more than a month, collecting valuable data on Earth’s only natural satellite. If successful, the mission will be followed by Artemis II, a manned flight to the moon, NASA’s first since the 1970s.