Science

“They have problems” and the launch of “Artemis” did not take place – Science et Avenir

Carrramba, this is missed. NASA has gathered the entire Earth and over 200,000 space fans within a reasonable distance of the launch pad for the Artemis 1 launch this Monday, August 29, 2022, from Kennedy Space Center. And here “they have a problem,” soberly remarked Bill Nelson, administrator of the American space agency. Problem with a gas leak in one of the four engines of the most powerful rocket ever built. So the delay is probably until September 2nd. “We are not launching until everything is in order,” he said.

The NASA administrator is a former astronaut.

This is better than a real misfire, similar to the explosion of the Challenger, even if there were no people on board. And for a test flight with a flyby of the Moon by the Orion capsule before returning to Earth, it is better not to miss it. In fact, there is nothing extraordinary in the postponement of rocket launches, and even more so of a new model, “this is part of the space business.” This is known to Bill Nelson, who flew the Columbia in January 1986 and recalled that this had to be done “four times to launch” this 24th flight of the American shuttle. Mr. Administrator also knows about disasters. Columbia, seventeen years later, in February 2003, disintegrated over Texas on re-entry. The problem of a damaged heat shield, the shuttle was no longer protected from high temperatures when the machine rubs hard against the molecules of the atmosphere. Not to mention the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger 73 seconds after takeoff on January 28, 1986, just ten days after returning to Earth from the flight carrying Bill Nelson. O-ring problem on booster, fire, fatal yaw. To say that you must have a strong heart is an understatement. But, now at the head of NASA, the former astronaut knows that this beginning of a return to the moon goes beyond a classic launch, it is strategic in nature. And this is closely watched by all space powers, led by China. Even if the latter cannot boast much, after the bitter failure of Long March 5B last July, it went out of control, large pieces of which burned up in the atmosphere, and the debris fell back into the Indian Ocean in the southwestern Philippines.

“Perfect Job”

With the Artemis program, the Americans really want to go far beyond the earth and even lunar orbit. Conquest of Mars is the next real frontier. Fifty-three years after Neil – “A small step for man, a big leap for mankind” – Armstrong, the United States is still ready for it, those who say that the moon will only be an aperitif? We need to do a “perfect job,” Bill Nelson insisted. Therefore, it will be necessary to carefully review the actions of machine number 3 and restore the morale of the troops if it fell. He assured that Vice President Kamala Harris, who came to watch the launch of the most powerful rocket in history, is very pleased with her visit: she is “a passionate space enthusiast, like President Joe Biden.” In fact, she has since tweeted that “our commitment to the Artemis program remains strong and we will return to the Moon.” We just have to wait. Enthusiasm and immense patience are qualities that every space fan should have, fingers crossed.

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