NASA Scrubs 2nd Attempt At Moon Rocket Launch After Another Fuel Leak
NASA's Artemis I rocket sits on launch pad 39-B at Kennedy Space Center on September 03, 2022 in Cape Canaveral, Florida
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

NASA’s unmanned flight to the Moon was stopped for the second time before launch Saturday after a fuel leak was discovered on the 322-foot Artemis I rocket.

Saturday’s leak is the second found on the rocket this week right before a scheduled launch. Artemis I, the most powerful rocket NASA has ever built, was initially scheduled for launch on Monday, but a leak of highly explosive oxygen stopped the rocket and pushed its scheduled takeoff to Saturday.

“We’ll go when it’s ready. We don’t go until then and especially now on a test flight, because we’re going to stress this and test it … and make sure it’s right before we put four humans up on the top of it,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said following Saturday’s scrub, adding, “This is part of our space program: Be ready for the scrubs.”

The launch team had just begun filling Artemis I with nearly one million gallons of fuel early in the morning when they noticed the leak at the bottom of the rocket in the engine section, the Associated Press reported. Nelson said the impending repairs to the rocket could delay its launch into October if they are extensive, since Artemis I would likely be removed from the launch pad and moved back into its hangar.

Ground crews did their best to stop the leak and save the launch, attempting to stop and restart the flow of liquid hydrogen and flushing helium through the fuel line, but to no avail, according to the AP.

The highly anticipated launch earlier in the week came to a disappointing end as the rocket’s bleed test issues forced the launch to abort Monday morning, The Daily Wire previously reported. The Artemis mission from NASA plans to land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon. The space program also intends to “collaborate with commercial and international partners and establish the first long-term presence on the Moon.”

NASA wants to send Artemis I into the Moon’s orbit for a five-week demo with test dummies as it prepares to send astronauts back to fly around the Moon in 2024 and land on it in 2025.

Dillon Burroughs contributed to this report.

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