Science & Tech

NASA: Friday launch for Artemis ‘is definitely in play’

Photo: NASA

The debut test launch of the colossal new rocket ship that NASA plans to use for future astronaut flights back to the moon, more than 50 years after Apollo’s last lunar mission, was postponed for at least four days due to an engine-cooling problem.

Quoted by Reuters, senior NASA officials declined to set a precise time frame for retrying a launch of the mission, dubbed Artemis I. But at a news briefing hours after the aborted countdown they said a second launch attempt was still possible as early as Friday, depending on the outcome of further data review, Reuters reported.

Michael Sarafin, NASA’s Artemis mission manager, told reporters that if engineers can resolve the issue on the launch pad in the next 48 to 72 hours, “Friday is definitely in play.”

The mission calls for a six-week, uncrewed test flight of the Orion capsule around the moon and back to Earth for a splashdown in the Pacific, according to Reuters report.

According to Reuters report, the planned journey will mark the start of NASA’s highly vaunted moon-to-Mars Artemis program, the successor to the Apollo lunar missions of the 1960s and 1970s.