NASA kicked off Monday its plan to send an unmanned space capsule into the moon’s orbit planning to establish a long term presence on the moon for scientific discovery and economic development.
The space capsule, called Artemis I, was expected to travel for roughly 40 days -- reaching as close as 60 miles from the moon
and then 40,000 miles above the moon when orbiting over its dark side -- before landing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego.
NASA wants to send the crew capsule atop the rocket around the moon, pushing it to the limit before astronauts get on the next flight.
If the five-week demo with test dummies succeeds, astronauts could fly around the moon in 2024 and land on it in 2025.
The launch director has officially decided to scrub the launch scheduled for Saturday afternoon after NASA engineers detected several liquid hydrogen leaks.
NASA engineers encountered the leak while loading the propellant into the core stage of the Space Launch System rocket.
Multiple troubleshooting efforts to address the area of the leak did not fix the issue.
NASA engineers will look at the rocket and determine if a launch window on Sept. 26 or Sept. 27 is a possibility, officials said during a Saturday press briefing.
The decision might be affected by the SpaceX launch on Oct. 5 that will send astronauts to the International Space Station.