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NASA scrubs launch attempt for Artemis I

UPDATE: The Artemis I launch has been scrubbed after the team was unable to work through an issue on one of the rocket’s four engines.

“Launch controllers were continuing to evaluate why a bleed test to get the RS-25 engines on the bottom of the core stage to the proper temperature range for liftoff was not successful, and ran out of time in the two-hour launch window,” according to an update from NASA. “Engineers are continuing to gather additional data.”

The launch team still needs to troubleshoot the engine issue and will keep the rocket in its current configuration to gather data and assess what needs to be done. Both the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, sitting on Launchpad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, remain stable, according to NASA officials.

The two-hour window for today’s launch attempt officially opened, and soon after NASA announced a scrub for today’s event. The earliest chance to launch will be Sept. 2 or Sept. 5, but that could slip depending on the severity of the engine issue that was behind today’s scrub.

UPDATE: With 40 minutes to go to launch the countdown to Artemis I went into a 30 minute hold.

NASA issued a statement saying, “Launch controllers condition the engines by increasing pressure on the core stage tanks to bleed some of the cryogenic propellant to the engines to get them to the proper temperature range to start them. Engine 3 is not properly being conditioned through the bleed process, and engineers are troubleshooting,” 

Kennedy Space Center, Florida --- 50 years after NASA's last trip to the moon, the Artemis I mission is on track for liftoff to travel around the moon today.

The mission will test the new space launch system rocket standing at 322-foot-tall (98-foot-tall), consisting of the Orion spacecraft and other components designed to make deep space travel safer for humans.

Sunday - NASA astronaut Kate Rubins said today's launch is one key step of many more to come towards a larger goal of putting astronauts on mars.

"We really need to learn how to operate long term in deep space in order to be able to explore. And the places that we're going are incredibly different. Apollo was focused on one kind of pretty easy-to-get-to equatorial area. We are looking to go to the polar regions always in darkness," she said.

There's a lot riding on today's launch from Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

Orion’s journey will last 42 days as it travels to the moon, loops around it and returns to Earth – traveling a total of 1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometers). The capsule will splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego on October 10.

While the passenger list doesn’t include any humans, it does have passengers: three mannequins and a plush Snoopy toy will ride in Orion.

The crew aboard Artemis I may sound a little unusual, but they each serve a purpose. Snoopy will serve as the zero gravity indicator – meaning that he will begin to float inside the capsule once it reaches the space environment. The mannequins, will measure deep space radiation future crews could experience and test a new suit and shielding technology.

If the 42-day un-crewed mission around the moon and back is a success, NASA will be on track to meet its goal of returning American astronauts to the moon by 2025.

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Noelia Gonzalez

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