NASA postponed an effort to launch its enormous, next-generation rocketship for the second time in a week. Blaming a persistent fuel leak that the space agency claimed might push back the launch of its moon-to-Mars Artemis program by at least a few weeks.
The unmanned test flight was to have been the first trip of both the SLS and Orion. It was to launch the capsule out to the moon and back.
After three unsuccessful attempts to repair a “significant” leak of supercooled liquid hydrogen propellant; poured into the rocket’s core-stage fuel tanks by Kennedy Space Center specialists, with the countdown aborted, according to agency officials.
In the space industry, launch-day delays and glitches are typical, particularly for new rockets like NASA’s Space Launch System, a complicated vehicle with a number of pre-liftoff procedures that have not yet been fully tested and perfected by engineers.