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NASA moon rocket launch delayed to maybe next month

NASA Moon Rocket
Brynn Anderson/AP
The NASA moon rocket stands on Pad 39B before the Artemis 1 mission to orbit the moon at the Kennedy Space Center, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

NASA’s Artemis moon rocket may not be able to launch until mid-October. Another hydrogen fuel leak forced mission to cancel a second blastoff attempt over the weekend. NASA says the new problem is deep into the engine compartment of the rocket that’s designed, tested, and managed at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. NASA administrator Bill Nelson told reporters before Saturday’s scrub that everything about this spacecraft is experiment…

“This is a test flight,” said the former Congressman and astronaut. “We are actually going to push this test flight…stress it more than we will with a crew on board.”

The rocket launch will test NASA’s new Orion spacecraft, which is designed to carry astronauts to the moon for the first planned lunar landing since 1972. If this first test flight is successful, NASA may put an astronaut crew aboard the next Orion to make a lunar fly-by and return mission. If that works, than humans may walk on the moon for the first time since Apollo 17. Nelson says there are a lot of comparisons between Artemis-1 and the Apollo Saturn five rocket.

“We often hear this question…how does this compare, et cetera. This is the only rocket that go with a spacecraft to the Moon.”

The Orion space capsule, waiting for blastoff, carries a number of smaller spacecraft called CubeSats. One experiment, built at the Marshall Space Flight Center is designed to use a deployable solar sail to propel that CubeSat to a rendezvous with a asteroid.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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