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NASA’s next Artemis I attempt – how to watch after leak forces launch cancellation AGAIN

THE first launch of Nasa’s biggest ever rocket has been delayed for a second time hours before it was due to liftoff from Florida.

The Space Launch System now won’t take to the skies until late September at the earliest as Nasa scrambles to fix a critical leak.


Nasa’s Orion capsule atop the Space Launch System rocketCredit: AFP

What is the new Artemis 1 launch date?

NASA has been forced to delay the launch of its Artemis I mission after a leak was detected in the rocket as it was being fueled.

It is the second time that the launch has been scrubbed after Nasa’s aborted one on Monday August 29.

The Artemis 1 crew had unanimously agreed to move forward with a liftoff attempt on Saturday at Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

But scientists were forced to pull the plug as it became clear that they would miss the two-hour launch window that opened at 2.17pm EST and closed at 4.17pm EST.

Before the latest cancellation, Nasa had said another launch window was available on Monday, September 5, if another delay was needed.

Engineers have decided, however, that the leak is too severe to fix before the current launch window closes.

That means that Artemis 1 won’t lift off until late September at the very earliest.

The next opportunity to try again comes during the next launch period that runs from September 19 to 30.

Failing that, the mission could lift off during a subsequent October window, NASA’s Jim Free said.

How to watch Artemis 1 launch live

Tens of thousands of people are expected to make the journey to The Sunshine State to watch the launch in person.

For those of us who can’t get there, Nasa is broadcasting the launch live on its website and official YouTube channel.

The Virtual Telescope Project (VTP) will attempt to capture an image of Orion in the night sky above Italy less than two hours after launch.

You can catch that live stream on the VTP’s website.

What is Artemis I?

Artemis I is the first part of Nasa’s hotly-anticipated campaign to put humans back on the Moon.

Following years of delays, it was scheduled to finally launch from Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center in Flordia on Monday, August 29.

However, the launch date was pushed back to September 3 due to an error while fuelling the mission’s Space Launch System megarocket.

When the flight does finally go ahead, the rocket will fire an uncrewed Orion capsule beyond Earth’s orbit.

The capsule, loaded with scientific instruments and a couple of mannequins, will then detach and begin a 42-day tour of space.

It will travel around the Moon and back to simulate the lunar flight that will eventually be undertaken by a team of astronauts.

The flight will allow for the testing of hardware ahead of Nasa’s plan to land the first woman and the first person of colour on the Moon by 2025.

That crewed mission is being referred to as Artemis III and a lot has to happen before it can take place.

Artemis I spacecraft explained

Artemis I isn’t a crewed mission. It will loop around the Moon to test three key components ahead of crewed missions later this decade.

These are Nasa’s Space Launch System (SLS), the Orion capsule, and the European Service Module (ESM).

The European Space Agency-built ESM is Orion’s power unit, giving it the juice it requires to reach Earth’s rocky satellite.

The Orion spacecraft and the ESM should get within 62 miles of the lunar surface and then travel 40,000 miles beyond this.

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Once it has looped around the dark side of the Moon, the spacecraft will return to Earth, landing in the Pacific off the coast of San Diego.

Nasa completed a “wet dress rehearsal” of the SLS back in March and has changed the proposed launch date several times already.

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