NASA again sets new date for Artemis 1 rocket launch
The launch of NASA's Artemis 1 moon rocket has been postponed for a second time due to a fuel leak, the Guardian reports. Dutch companies and organizations contributed to the rocket, including designing the solar panels for the spacecraft.
The Artemis 1 launch was originally scheduled for Aug. 29, but was delayed because of technical issues. The launch was rescheduled to Sept. 3, but a leak of liquid hydrogen fuel forced the U.S. space agency to again delay takeoff.
Dutch company Airbus designed and built the rocket's solar panels in Leiden, and also provides electricity for the spacecraft. Dutch space organization NSO also contributed to the mission. "I can't imagine that people will go back to the moon partly thanks to our solar panels," Rob van Hassel, who led the development of the Dutch solar panels at Airbus, told the ANP in August.
The moon rocket's first flight will be unmanned, in order to test the systems. Because the technical issue is far inside one of the rocket's engines, the Artemis probably cannot be fixed on the launchpad and will have to be taken to the vehicle assembly building for more in-depth repairs, according to the Guardian.
The next launch window opens in early October, but "I suspect [the launch will] be more like in the middle," said Bill Nelson, head of NASA, according to the Guardian.
“This is part of the space business,” Nelson said. “We’ll go when it’s ready. We don’t go until then, and especially on a test flight because we’re going to stress this and test it, and test that heat shield and make sure it’s right before we put four humans up on the top."