NASA’s Mars-Prepping Moon Rocket Launch Scrubbed Due to Engine Issue

·2 min read
Image via Getty/CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP
Image via Getty/CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP

The planned launch of NASA’s Artemis I uncrewed Moon mission has been scrubbed, the agency confirmed Monday morning.

After speculation as to whether the expected launch would be able to continue as scheduled early Monday, NASA confirmed it would not in a statement from the launch director shared just after 8:30 a.m. ET. At the time, per NASA, researchers were “continuing to evaluate” why a bleed test aimed at getting engines on the bottom of the core stage to the required liftoff temperature proved unsuccessful.

The launch is slated to mark the beginning of a new era for NASA, which has eyes not only on a Moon return but on an eventual mission to Mars, as well. Adding to the excitement of that promise is the fact that Artemis I is billed as merely “the first in a series of increasingly complex missions,” each of which will build toward enabling exploration “to the Moon and Mars.”

Speaking on the launch postponement on Monday, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson noted such delays are simply “part of the space business,” vowing that a successful launch is indeed still in Artemis I’s future.

“We don’t launch until it’s right,” Nelson, who recently made headlines for his refreshingly open minded remarks about the potential of extraterrestrial life, said. “And in fact, they’ve got a problem with the gases going on the engine bleed on one engine. You can’t go. There are certain guidelines. And I think it’s just illustrative that this is a very complicated machine and a very complicated system and all those things have to work. And you don’t want to light the candle until it’s ready to go.”

Speaking on his own experiences and other delays in the past, Nelson continued by painting a picture of assured success in the days and weeks ahead.

“I have some personal experience and the crew that I participated in on the 24th flight on the Space Shuttle, we scrubbed four times on the pad,” Nelson said. “And the fifth try was a flawless mission.”

Word is expected to come soon regarding the specifics of the next launch attempt for Artemis I. In the meantime, keep looking up.

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