Afghan Voice Agency(AVA)_Monitoring, The 32-story tall Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and its Orion capsule were due for blastoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 21:47 (Kabul time) Saturday kicking off NASA’s ambitious moon-to-Mars program Artemis program 50 years after the last Apollo lunar mission, Reuters reported.
The previous launch bid on Monday ended with technical problems forcing a halt to the countdown and postponement of the uncrewed flight.
Tests indicated technicians have since fixed a leaky fuel line that contributed to Monday’s canceled launch, Jeremy Parsons, a deputy program manager at the space center, told reporters on Friday.
Two other key issues on the rocket itself – a faulty engine temperature sensor and some cracks in insulation foam – have been resolved to NASA’s satisfaction, Artemis mission manager Mike Sarafin told reporters Thursday night.
Weather is always an additional factor beyond NASA’s control. The latest forecast called for a 70% chance of favorable conditions during Saturday’s two-hour launch window, according to the U.S. Space Force at Cape Canaveral.
If the countdown clock were halted again, NASA could reschedule another launch attempt for Monday or Tuesday.
Dubbed Artemis I, the mission marks the first flight for both the SLS rocket and the Orion capsule, built under NASA contracts with Boeing Co (BA.N) and Lockheed Martin Corp.
It also signals a major change in direction for NASA’s post-Apollo human spaceflight program, after decades focused on low-Earth orbit with space shuttles and the International Space Station.