The Artemis 1 moon mission was scrubbed for a second time — just hours ahead of a planned Saturday launch — as NASA technicians grappled with leaking hydrogen from the rocket’s highly combustible fuel system.
The next available launch opportunities will not come before Monday or Tuesday — that is, if engineers can come up with a fix for the dangerously recurring problem.
The unmanned $4.1 billion mission, part of the ongoing American effort to establish a moon base that could send humans to Mars, has been plagued by technical troubles.
The leak began early Saturday as the agency tried to fill its new 322-foot rocket with nearly 1 million gallons of supercooled hydrogen fuel. The highly combustible accelerant began leaking from the lower part of the engine Saturday sending engineers scrambling for a fix.
NASA called off its previous launch attempt on Monday, leaving its payload of three test dummies on the ground instead of sending them into orbit around the moon.