September 28, 2022

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NASA's Artemis I massive moon rocket test has been canceled for the second time

NASA will begin the third attempt in an important test of the moon mission on Saturday

The rehearsal, which simulates each stage of the launch without the missile actually exiting the launch pad, will begin at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday and is expected to run until 2:40 p.m. ET on Monday, according to the release.

The test is an important step in the first phase of NASA’s Artemis program, which is expected to return humans to the moon and land the first woman and first people of color on the moon by 2025.

The rehearsal was originally scheduled to finish last Sunday, but was put on hold before propellant was loaded. This was due to problems with two propellers used to pressurize the mobile launcher – the movable turret on which the rocket would sit before taking off.

The next day, NASA said it had resolved a malfunction in the propellers, which are needed to compress enclosed areas inside the rocket launcher and keep out dangerous gases.

Charlie Blackwell Thompson, Artemis launch manager for NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems program, said the test was attempted again Monday but was halted before it was completed due to a problem with a panel on the mobile launcher that controls the primary stage relief valve. The valve relieves pressure from the rocket’s primary stage while conducting a tank of propellant, according to NASA.

NASA's Artemis I massive moon rocket test has been halted for the second time

The results of the wetsuit training will determine when Artemis I takes off on a mission beyond the moon and back to Earth.

During the flight, the unmanned Orion spacecraft will blast above an SLS rocket to reach the moon and travel thousands of miles behind it — farther than any spacecraft intended to carry humans has traveled. This mission is expected to last a few weeks and will end with Orion spray in the Pacific Ocean.

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Artemis I will be Orion’s final testing ground before the spacecraft carries astronauts to the Moon, 1,000 times more Earth-bound than the International Space Station site.

After the uncrewed Artemis I flight, Artemis II will be a lunar flight, and Artemis III will return astronauts to the lunar surface. The launch schedule for subsequent missions depends on the results of the Artemis I mission.