Space agency NASA had to abort its Artemis-1 mission for the second time in a week, after the recurrence of liquid hydrogen leak in one of the engines of the rocket.
A similar problem had aborted the scheduled launch of the mission last Sunday (August 29) as well, apart from the fact that one of the engines had not cooled down to desired levels. Over the week, NASA engineers had worked on the problems and thought they had fixed it. But the leakage recurred multiple times ahead of Saturday night’s launch, with engineers continuously engaged in firefighting.
After the leak appeared for the third time, NASA decided to call off the launch. NASA was targeting a two-hour launch window, starting 11.47 pm India time. There are launch windows available on September 5 and September 6, but it was not clear whether NASA would take another shot at sending the mission so soon.
Artemis-1 is supposed to be the start of a new generation of interplanetary space missions whose specific purpose is to get humans back on the moon, and then much deeper into space, hopefully on other planets as well. Artemis-1 is not carrying any astronauts though. It is an exploratory mission, meant to set up the foundation for more ambitious missions in the future that aspire to set up permanent base stations on the moon.
Fifty years after the Apollo missions took humans to the lunar surface for the first time, there is a renewed interest now in going back to the moon, this time for much longer time, with the hope of exploiting the lunar resources and set up permanent bases.