NASA hopes to launch a new moon rocket on Saturday after fixing issues

NASA is preparing for the second try in a week to launch its new moon rocket on Saturday.

Following the first attempt’s failure due to engine sensor issues and fuel leaks, NASA planned to launch its next moon rocket on Saturday.

The 322-foot rocket’s first flight, which would have been its most potent yet, was postponed late on Monday. As managers affirmed their trust in their strategy and meteorologists provided favourable weather odds, the clocks at Kennedy Space Center began to tick once more.

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For the first time since the Apollo mission 50 years ago, a crew capsule on top of the rocket will carry three test subjects on a six-week journey around the moon and back. Before putting humans in the spaceship for the next scheduled journey in two years, NASA intends to give it a thorough cleaning.

“This is a test flight, right? And so while I feel very good about our procedures, when you look the team in the eye, they’re ready. We can’t control the weather,” NASA’s Jeremy Parsons, deputy manager of exploration ground systems, said Friday.

The Space Launch System rocket’s engineers insisted Thursday evening that all four of the main engines were in fine condition and that only one of them appeared to be unusually warm on Monday due to a malfunctioning temperature sensor. At takeoff, the engines must be at or below minus 420 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 250 degrees Celsius) of the liquid hydrogen fuel to avoid damage and in-flight shutdown.

“We have convinced ourselves without a shadow of a doubt that we have good-quality liquid hydrogen going through the engines. There’s no fuzz on that,” said John Honeycutt, the rocket’s program manager.

The launch team will run another engine test, but this time earlier in the countdown, after fueling starts on Saturday morning. According to Honeycutt, other sensors may be used to verify that everything is operating as it should and to stop the countdown if a problem arises, even if the suspicious sensor indicates that one engine is excessively warm.

Because of fuel leaks, NASA was unable to do that type of engine test earlier this year. On Monday, there were further fuel leaks; technicians tightened several loose connections.

The test trip, which cost $4.1 billion, is the first step in NASA’s plan to transport astronauts to the moon in 2024 and land them there in 2025. In 1972, astronauts made their final moonwalk.