CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — It may be the second scrubbing for the Artemis I launch in a week but NASA officials said it’s actually a sign of progress. Early Saturday teams attempted to fix an issue related to a leak in the hardware transferring fuel into the rocket, but were unsuccessful.
Astronaut and Iowa native Raja Chari said it is all providing valuable information and the issues that arise continue to put us one step closer to humankind on the moon again.
“One of the things that is most important and why we do flight tests is for discovery and burning down the risks. This test, like many others, has a lot of risks associated with it so getting it done we are going to find problems. That is a given and the sooner we can find those and start working on fixes and alterations to the vehicle and rocket it gives us time to do that,” said the Cedar Falls native.
Chari recently commanded the NASA Space X Crew-3 Mission where he spent over 170 days in space and performed two space walks. The Air Force Academy and MIT grad said everything has to be perfect for a successful launch because the Artemis rocket is different than anything that has come before it.
Chair said Artemis will go thousands of miles past the moon and further than any vehicle meant for humankind. It is the most powerful rocket in history and for the first time it will orbit around the Moon’s poles instead of the equator which requires more power.
While astronauts will not be occupying the eventual first launch, mannequins and a plush Snoopy doll will be busy providing valuable information.
“We are actually going past the Earth’s magnetic field so one of the key things we are getting from these mannequins and the telemetry on board is the radiation environment. We understand what the radiation environment is in space and we’ve built a vehicle to hopefully shield the occupants. That is one of the key pieces of data we will be getting is those supped-up crash test dummies. Moonikin Campos is one them but they are basically going to help us make sure we got it right with the radiation shielding design.”
Chari is one of 18 astronauts chosen to train for possible moon landings during Artemis missions. If picked he could set foot on the Moon as early as 2025 with Artemis III.
Assuming NASA teams can fix the problems caused Saturday morning a possible launch date for Artemis I could be set for Monday, September 5.