NASA readies for Saturday Moon rocket launch attempt

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NASA's Moon rocket sits on the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on September 1, 2022.

Weather forecasts are promising, and the technical problems that caused the launch to be delayed earlier this week seem to be rectified, so NASA's Moon rocket should finally take off on Saturday.

It will launch from Florida's Kennedy Space Center at 2:17 p.m. local time (18:17 GMT); however, there might be a two-hour delay if required.

On Thursday evening, there was a 60% probability of having a good weather window.

Forecast expert Melody Lovin stated at a news briefing that the weather "looks fine" and isn't anticipated to be a "showstopper."

The technical issues that caused the launch to be delayed at the last minute during its first scheduled window on Monday are also being addressed by NASA.

According to the rocket's program manager John Honeycutt, it initially appeared like one of the rocket's four main engines was running too hot, but it turned out to be only reading from a "bad sensor."

The inaccurate information will be ignored in the future.

After that, a fuel tank leak needed to be fixed.

Director of the launch Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said, "We were able to locate what we think to be the source of the leak and remedy that.

The Artemis 1 mission is a test flight without a crew. The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the most potent in the world and under development for more than a decade, will debut with this launch.

The Artemis mission manager Mike Sarafin stated, "There's no assurance we're going to get off on Saturday, but we're going to try."

If the mission goes on as planned on Saturday, the Orion spacecraft, mounted atop the rocket, will spend 37 days circling the Moon at a distance of around 60 miles (100 kilometers).

Then, in 2025 at the earliest, the Orion will return astronauts to the Moon, including the first woman and the first person of color to set foot on its surface.

The Greek goddess Artemis, after whom the first Moon expeditions were named, is Apollo's twin sister. NASA wants to test equipment that might one day be used to take people to Mars with the new flagship mission.

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