NASA decided to delay its Artemis I launch on Monday following issues during the countdown, pushing back the debut of its towering rocket and its mission to the moon. The agency was set to launch its Artemis I mission from Kennedy Space Center within a two-hour window starting at 8:33 a.m. ET, which would send the rocket and orian capsule a journey around the moon.
“You don’t want to light the candle until it is ready to go,” Bill Nelson, the NASA administrator, said on NASA Television after the launch was postponed. “It’s just part of the space business.”
The next launch attempt will not happen until Friday at the earliest.
“The fear now is that the problem is in engine 3. If so, it can’t be swapped out on the pad but will have to go back to the [vehicle assembly building],” Homer Hickham, a former NASA engineer, told FOX Business. “The delay will be not days but weeks. We shall see. There’s tons of data for the engineers to study before they can come to any conclusion about today’s attempt and whether the [Space Launch System] rocket can stay on the pad and try for Friday.”
NASA has backup launch dates scheduled for Sept. 2 and Sept. 5, pending the resolution of the outlined issues. According to the agency, a news conference will be held Monday afternoon to speak on the postponement as well as future plans for Artemis I.
Artemis will not carry any astronauts or land on the moon. However, its mission will prove that NASA’s rocket and deep space capsule can achieve the established abilities.