For the second time this week, the United States is trying to launch a new spacecraft, which will fly to the moon and return without anyone on board. It’s the dress rehearsal for the manned lunar missions in a few years. The last time people walked there was in 1972.
Monday’s first launch attempt was aborted. He failed to bring one of the four rocket motors up to temperature. The American space agency NASA has been trying to remedy the problem for a few days.
The launch is to be from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. The so-called launch window starts at 8:17 p.m. Dutch time and lasts for two hours. After launch, the craft will orbit the Earth for about 1.5 hours, then accelerate and begin the Moon traverse. In five to six weeks, it should return to Earth with a splash in the Pacific Ocean.
The mission is called Artemis I. The most powerful rocket ever built, the SLS, was built for it. At the very top is piled up the machine which must go to the moon, the Orion. The rear part, which provides power and propulsion, was developed by Europe. The solar panels that produce electricity come from Leiden.
If the launch cannot take place on Saturday, Monday is the next possibility.