CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The most powerful rocket in history will have to wait to be launched at least until later this week.
NASA scrubbed the planned launch for Artemis 1 around 7:30 a.m. Monday morning St. Louis time. The launch window was open on August 29 from 7:33 a.m. until 9:33 a.m. St. Louis time, but now we know there will be no launch.
Will Snyder, the manager of the McDonnell Planetarium at the Saint Louis Science Center, told us there were several issues that NASA was trying to contend with. Snyder said the main problem was with engine number three not cooling down properly for launch.
NASA, of course, is airing on the side of caution postponing the historic launch of Artemis 1. The next launch window is Friday then there is another possibility on Labor Day.
Artemis 1 is being called the new era of lunar exploration. At 322 feet, it stands taller than the Statue of Liberty. When it does launch, there will be no people on board the first flight. However, it will send the Orion capsule on a 42-day mission around the moon.
After a decade in the making, NASA said Artemis 1 is a necessary first step in a series of missions to the moon and beyond. Since there are no astronauts on board for the first flight, special manikins with sensors will keep track of vibrations and g-force upon launch. The sensors will also track how much radiation astronauts will be exposed to in deep space.
The largest heat shield ever built of this kind will be tested as Orion will eventually re-enter the earth’s atmosphere at 25,000 miles per hour. It will need to withstand temperatures as hot as 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
If this launch, whenever it happens, is considered a success, Artemis 2 could launch with four astronauts on board in about two years or so. That rocket would go around the moon.
Artemis 3 and future missions would actually land people on the moon.