The SLS rocket was scheduled to launch Monday, August 29, 2022 at 8:33 am (ET). However, due to engine complications, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) postponed the launch for possibly Friday, September 2nd.
Since the scheduled time was 8:33 am, there was a two-hour window to fuel the rocket and run tests as well. Although, as they were working on the Space Launch System (SLS), there were thunderstorms about 5 nautical miles off of Cape Canaveral, Florida, where the rocket was. At about one a.m, they had to delay filling the propellant to, according to Newsweek, 5 minutes later when storms moved farther from the platform.
Additionally, NASA employees were getting the rocket ready to launch when they received failed reports from the engines. They later found that there was a leak with hydrogen seeping out. The leak was additionally in the same place as the one found in the spring, which, because the hydrogen was highly explosive, had to start and stop the fueling process. According to the Associated Press, that process took quite a few minutes, while the launch process as a whole was already behind an hour from the off-shore thunderstorms. The engineers were finding out why the engine would not go to the proper temperature needed for liftoff.
While doing so, they ran out of time in the two-hour window. The main propellants, hydrogen and oxygen, need to be -423 degrees Fahrenheit and -294 degrees Fahrenheit. However, NASA states that the problem is unlikely to be because of the engine, even though it was originally seen on the third engine. NASA also says that the engineers found two leaks, an 8-inch one leaking the hydrogen, and another hydrogen leak coming from a valve.
Originally rescheduled for this Friday, then Monday, September 5th, the final date NASA chose was Saturday, September 3rd, 2022. However, according to the Weather Channel, Friday and Monday are now the back up dates. Although, even if the technical problems are fixed, there would still be possible storms that could delay the launch. Additionally stated by the Weather Channel, there is a tropical disturbance in the Atlantic ocean that has a 60% chance of forming into a tropical cyclone. However, it’s unlikely to affect Launch Platform 39b where the SLS Artemis rocket is.
The delay of the launch will not be a big roadblock for NASA, since they plan on launching tomorrow September 3rd, 2022. After the SLS Artemis rocket launches, we will be one step closer to putting the first woman and person of color on the moon.