NASA directors said in a press conference on Saturday that they would postpone the launch of the Artemis I rocket until after the current launch period, which ends on Tuesday, after two scrubbed attempts.
“We will not be launching in this launch period. We are not where we wanted to be,” said Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development Jim Free.
The delay means that Artemis I will not be launched until at least the next launch period, which will occur in late September. However, the duration of repairs may mean that the rocket cannot be launched until October.
NASA planned to launch the rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Fla. on Monday before one of its engines failed to condition to the correct temperature for the journey and a hydrogen leak occurred.
The second launch attempt occurred Saturday morning but was disrupted by a second liquid hydrogen leak.
“We’re not going to launch until it’s right,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson at the press conference.
He continued: “We don’t go until then, and we make sure it’s right before we put humans up on the top of it.”
The launch team will decide a third date for the endeavor early next week, according to the conference.
Artemis I is part of a NASA program that aims eventually to send people back to the moon for the first time since 1972.
Free said that the spacecraft would return to the Vehicle Assembly Building before it is approved for launch.
Nelson emphasized that this was the safest decision, saying that NASA would never launch until experts believed that it was the right time.
“These teams have labored over that and that is the conclusion they came to,” Nelson said of the strict launch requirements.
“I look at this as part of our space program, in which safety is the top of the list.”