Friday, September 29, 2023

NASA plans to send humans back to the moon


UPDATE Sept. 2, noon: NASA scrubbed the planned launch due to a leak in the eight-inch line that fills the rocket with liquid hydrogen after being cooled to the smallest molecule’s melting point of –423°F. If technicians can fix the problem, NASA may try again on Monday or Tuesday. Or they could wait until October. But the first launch for a complex rocket is bound to come with delays, especially since NASA can’t really test the liquid hydrogen supply line until the molecule starts to flow after being super-cooled. And that only happens during the countdown.

For the first time since 1972, NASA plans to launch a rocket to the moon, reports Karim Melek of Palatine High School in Illinois, in the school’s student newspaper.

Artemis I on Launch Pad 39B, Kennedy Space Center (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

The launch was scrubbed on Tuesday, due to problems with the flow of coolant to one of the rocket’s engines. NASA reported on Wednesday that the countdown would resume Saturday at the opening of a planned 2.5-hour built-in hold, which will begin at 4:37 AM.

If there are no delays, weather issues, or complications, Artemis I, an uncrewed mission around the moon that will pave the way for humans to land and even live for a while on the surface of the moon, is set to launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 2:17 PM Eastern Time Saturday.

The mission has an expected duration of 38 days, so if Artemis I launches Saturday, the spacecraft will splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on about October 11. Lunar orbit will begin on Day 6 of the mission, according to NASA.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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