NASA hopes to launch the Artemis I mission with the SLS rocket on September 23 or 27. To do this, the space agency must first be sure that the previous leak has been repaired. Also, NASA must get permission from Space Force.
The space agency told CNBC on Thursday, among others that the organization was still working on repairing the leak in the fuel system. During the launch attempt last weekend, there appeared to be a leak in a coupling piece that should get liquid hydrogen from the ground installation into the rocket. On Thursday, NASA said it expected to have the work finished that day. On September 17, the organization wants to carry out a tank demonstration to check whether this has indeed been successful.
If the leak is indeed repaired, NASA plans to launch the rocket on September 23 or 27. To do this, the organization must obtain permission from the US Space Force. The SLS rocket is equipped with a Flight Termination System, which can inflate the rocket if it deviates from the route during launch and threatens to go towards a populated area. Fts uses batteries for this and Space Force prescribes that those batteries must be fully charged before each launch.
For NASA to charge the batteries, the rocket must be moved to the nearby Vehicle Assembly Building. This would delay the launch attempt to October. NASA therefore hopes to get an exemption from this rule from Space Force. It is not yet clear whether Space Force wants to grant that exemption.
The Artemis I mission launches an SLS rocket carrying a crewless Orion capsule to the moon. The capsule will then remain in orbit around the moon for six days to collect data. Later, it returns to Earth to plunge into the ocean. A manned Artemis III lunar mission is to take place in 2025.