After a series of failed fueling tests, NASA’s mega-moon rocket flight debut is facing additional delays.
Officials stated Monday that it would be difficult to meet the launch window for early to mid-June. Officials stated that the next chance to fly an empty capsule to the Moon on a test flight is at the end June or July.
Kennedy Space Center has had the 30-story Space Launch System rocket on its pad for the past month. Next week, the rocket will be returning to the hangar for fuel leak and valve repairs. NASA was unable to fill the rocket’s fuel tanks in time for the critical dress rehearsal because of these problems earlier in March.
According to Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, launch director, the rocket will spend several weeks in the hangar prior to returning to the pad for testing.
Managers have a variety of options to get back on track.
“It’s just about what’s right time, and what’s best way to do it,” stated Tom Whitmeyer (NASA deputy associate administrator).
NASA needs to complete this test flight before it can put astronauts on board for its second lunar flyaround in 2024. A third mission, which would aim to place astronauts on the Moon around 2025, is more than half a century after NASA’s Apollo moonshots.