The highly anticipated event came to a disappointing end as the rocket’s bleed test issues forced the launch to abort Monday morning.
“The launch director halted today’s Artemis I launch attempt at approximately 8:34 a.m. EDT. The Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft remain in a safe and stable configuration,” NASA announced 20 minutes after the originally scheduled launch time.
“Launch controllers were continuing to evaluate why a bleed test to get the RS-25 engines on the bottom of the core stage to the proper temperature range for liftoff was not successful, and ran out of time in the two-hour launch window. Engineers are continuing to gather additional data,” it added.
A leak of highly explosive hydrogen appears related to a similar issue discovered in June. NASA thought the leak had been fixed but spotted concerns early Monday that could not be immediately addressed.
The launch had already been delayed by nearly an hour due to thunderstorms near the Florida Kennedy Space Center. The leak set the schedule beyond the two-hour time window, forcing a reschedule of the Artemis I rocket.
The next launch attempt will not occur until at least Friday, the first of two scheduled backup dates for the mission. September 5 will serve as the third date if needed.
The mission is set to run for more than 42 days, traveling 1.3 million miles from Earth to the Moon. The Orion spacecraft that sits upon the Space Launch System will separate from the propulsion stage approximately two hours after launch.
Orion will deploy 10 small satellites, called CubeSats, to study the Moon and other space destinations. The spacecraft will then orbit the Moon to test communications and flight requirements ahead of a future human launch.
The Artemis I mission serves as a key part of the U.S. sending astronauts back to the surface of the Moon and beyond. The last human Moon landing took place in 1972.
NASA’s Artemis I is the precursor to the Artemis II that is on pace to launch for the first time in 2024. The space agency has its sights set on humans returning to the Moon’s surface in 2025 or 2026.
As 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.”
The Artemis mission also extends beyond the Moon. NASA plans to “use what we learn on and around the Moon to take the next giant leap: sending the first astronauts to Mars.”
NASA’s ambitious goals are not the only plans for reaching the Moon. Russia and China have announced plans for a future Moon mission together, while Elon Musk’s SpaceX is developing plans for a future lunar landing.