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NASA’s new rocket to the moon must return to the garage

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Despite several attempts to carry out this test at the Kennedy Space Center, the teams of the American space agency encountered a series of problems. These convinced the teams to return the rocket to safety before attempting a final dress rehearsal.

A defective valve will in particular have to be replaced, an operation which could not be carried out on the launch pad.

A leak was also discovered during the last filling operations of the main stage with liquid hydrogen, which will have to be solved.

For any new launch system, when it first goes through this process, that’s the kind of stuff you learnjustified Monday at a press conference Tom Whitmeyer, responsible for the development of exploration systems at NASA.

The vehicle itself works very well, but the operations are very complicatedhe added.

The test consists of repeating all the steps leading up to a launch, from the filling of the tanks to the final countdown – stopped just before the ignition of the engines.

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For the moment, NASA has not specified when it intends to carry out a new test, but repairs in the assembly building will take at least several weeks, said Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, director for the launch of Artemis.

Artemis is the name given to the American program to return to the Moon.

The first mission, Artemis 1, will mark the first flight of SLS, whose development has been years behind schedule. The mission will take place without an astronaut on board: the Orion capsule, located at the top of the rocket, will be propelled to the Moon and placed in orbit, before returning to Earth.

The take-off date must be announced after the dress rehearsal.

A launch window was possible in early June, but is now proving very difficult to hold, Tom Whitmeyer said on Monday.

The following launch windows, determined in particular by the position of the Earth and the Moon, extend from June 29 to July 12, then from July 26 to August 9.

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The take-off, initially announced for the end of 2021, has already been postponed many times.

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