NASA Postpones Final SLS Rocket Test for Moon Landing
The latest test of NASA's massive Moon rocket SLS has been postponed to allow for the launch of a SpaceX rocket later this week, the US space agency stated Tuesday.
The enormous Space Launch System's dress rehearsal was slated for Friday at Cape Canaveral, Florida, at the same time as SpaceX's launch from pad 39A.
The rocket test, which will return humans to the Moon, will now resume immediately after the SpaceX voyage, which will transport three businessmen and a former astronaut to the International Space Station.
While waiting, the 322-foot (98-meter) SLS rocket will remain on its launch pad.
All of the stages leading up to launch must be practiced in this final test before blasting off for the Moon later this year, from filling the tanks to the final countdown, which will be paused shortly before the engines start.
The test began last Friday and was supposed to end late Sunday, but NASA teams encountered "a whole slew of technical issues" as well as unfavorable weather on Saturday, according to Mike Sarafin, mission manager for the Artemis Moon landing.
Among the issues faced were four lightning strikes on the launch pad during a thunderstorm, proving that the protective system worked as intended.
However, Sarafin stated that the faults were not "serious difficulties." "We haven't encountered any fundamental design defects or difficulties."
"We take satisfaction in learning from these tests," he said, describing the recent ones as "somewhat successful."
Artemis 1 will be the first flight of the SLS, which has been years in the making.
The top-mounted Orion spacecraft will be launched to the Moon, where it will be positioned in orbit before returning to Earth.
The first mission will not include astronauts. The departure date will be announced following the so-called "wet" dress rehearsal.
A launch window in early June is possible, and Sarafin stated that he is "not ready to give up on it yet."
Another launch opportunity in early July is feasible.