A fuel leak delayed launch preparations for the maiden flight of the new US moon rocket SLS on Saturday. As several agencies report, the start on Saturday is therefore no longer possible. Actually, the rocket should have taken off at 2:17 p.m. local time (20:17 CEST). A few hours before the planned take-off of the Artemis 1 mission, a leak was discovered in a pipe that was supposed to pump around three million liters of hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the tanks, according to the US space agency Nasa.
As the “ BBC ” wrote in the afternoon, the mechanics were unable to stop the leaking fuel. NASA has no other option than to postpone the start to Monday or Tuesday. After that, there will only be a new start option from September 19th. Before a new date is set, NASA technicians must first evaluate all the data and fix the problem.
The start was canceled at short notice on Monday due to a technical problem. From a meteorological point of view, the starting conditions were good on Saturday: According to Nasa, the chances of good weather at the beginning of the two-hour time window were 60 percent and should later rise to 80 percent. The authorities expected up to 400,000 onlookers on the beaches around the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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The unmanned SLS rocket is designed to launch an Orion capsule into space. The Orion capsule will then orbit the moon at a distance of around one hundred kilometers. The Artemis 1 mission is expected to last several weeks.
Among other things, Germany is making a contribution to the NASA mission with the Orion service and propulsion module, which is mainly built in Germany. The follow-up mission Artemis 2 should bring astronauts into a lunar orbit, with Artemis 3 a moon landing should succeed at the earliest in 2025.