KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — NASA crews are working to figure out what comes next after they were forced to scrub the planned launch of the Artemis 1 mission Monday.
Watch: TIMELINE: NASA scrubs launch of Artemis I due to technical issues with engine
The original launch window was set to open at 8:33 a.m., but issues with the SLS rocket’s No. 3 engine kept it grounded.
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After crews took a deeper look during an unplanned hold that stopped the countdown clock at T-40 minutes, the mission’s flight director made the call to scrub.
The next launch attempt will not take place until Friday at the earliest and could be off until mid-September or later.
Photos: NASA set for historic launch of SLS rocket for Artemis I mission to the moon
The timing is going to come down to how quickly engineers can figure out how to put enough pressure on the rocket’s engine to force the liquid hydrogen fuel through it.
NASA has scheduled a media teleconference for 6 p.m. Tuesday to provide an update on the mission’s status. Participants will include Mission manager Mike Sarafin and Launch Director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson.
The mission, when it happens, will be the first flight in NASA’s Artemis project, a quest to put astronauts back on the moon for the first time since the Apollo program ended 50 years ago.
“This is a very complicated machine, a very complicated system, and all those things have to work, and you don’t want to light the candle until it’s ready to go,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
Referring to launch delays, he said: “It’s just part of the space business and it’s part of, particularly, a test flight.”
Read: NASA’s next moonshot: What you should know about the Artemis lunar program
The rocket was set to lift off on a flight to propel a crew capsule into orbit around the moon. The six-week mission was scheduled to end with the capsule returning to Earth in a splashdown in the Pacific in October.
As for when NASA might make another liftoff attempt, launch commentator Derrol Nail said engineers were still analyzing the engine problem and “we must wait to see what shakes out from their test data.”
NASA crews are looking over the technical issues with the SLS rocket engine to figure out when they will attempt to launch again.
Read: Artemis I: 9 things to know about NASA’s mission to return humans to the moon
NASA leaders said their teams would reevaluate the condition of the Artemis I rocket Tuesday after getting some rest.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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