Artemis mission | NASA postpones the launch of its lunar mission

(Longueuil) Big disappointment, Monday morning, at Canadian Space Agency headquarters, in Longueuil, when NASA announced the cancellation of the launch of its new Artémis lunar rocket.

Posted at 6:35 a.m.
Updated at 9:01 am.

Pierre Saint Arnaud
News agency

USAID engineers found that one of the temperature sensors for one of the four engines presented a value that did not match the expected standard.

“Just before liftoff, we wanted to clear all the fuel lines and the engineers didn’t like what they were seeing in terms of telemetry and temperature, so out of caution they decided to go take a closer look,” said astronaut David Saint-Jacques. Present at the John H. Chapman Space Launch Center.

“It’s disappointing, but it’s part of the game. These systems are very complicated, what we’re doing is very dangerous. Everyone should really be reassured that everything is fine, and unfortunately, something was annoying.”

On the other hand, the astronaut said that the abnormal temperature observed does not necessarily indicate a serious problem per se, but the risk tolerance is zero in this region. “Is there really a problem with the plumbing?” Is there really a problem that could, I don’t know, cause an explosion for example? In aviation, do not forgive. We don’t like to take risks. »

So David Saint-Jacques was disappointed, of course, but surprised at all. “We are used to it. Launch delays happen all the time, and what is important is that the day we say ‘Go! Let’s go, ”Of course everything is going well. »

PHOTO ANDRE PICHETTE, PRESS ARCHIVES

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques

For now, takeoff has been pushed back to next Friday at the start of the afternoon.

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“Friday is our next opportunity. It is the physics of orbits that does that. The moon must be in the right place in the sky, among other things. On Friday, if we can get to the core of the problem and it will be confirmed that it has been resolved at that time, It will be a date again for the next test.”

David St-Jacques also insists on this test idea, since it’s an entirely new rocket.

“I’m not saying we expected something like this, but it’s a test flight.

“It was a chance to test everything in an integrated way and push the boundaries a little bit, where we had the opportunity to complete the rocket, full of fuel without a crew on board, and that’s kind of the job of the engineers, and they’re trying to see if there’s a problem to make sure we, the day we launch In it, we are ready and sure that it works well.”

The 98-meter-high rocket was scheduled to take off on Monday morning with three mannequins on board on its first flight, on a mission to push a capsule into orbit around the moon.

This is the first flight of the lunar exploration program for 21e A century from NASA, called Artemis, has been predicted for years. Repeated delays have led to billions of dollars in budget overruns. This mission alone costs $4.1 billion.

Twelve astronauts from the various Apollo missions landed on the Moon from 1969 to 1972, with only a few days left. NASA is looking to establish a base in lunar orbit, with astronauts in and out for weeks at a time.

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“The ultimate goal is to prepare us to go to Mars. We will test all of our life support systems, our navigational propulsion systems, all in the lunar environment. There will be a base in lunar orbit, a small lunar station, the Gateway, which Canada will participate in by contributing a robotic arm.” Before that, there will be missions to the lunar environment,” the Canadian astronaut explained.

A Canadian astronaut will participate in the Artemis 2 mission scheduled for 2024.

“It is still unusual for us. Canada will be the second country to send someone to the lunar environment,” David Saint-Jacques rejoiced.

When asked if he would like to be the lucky winner, his eyes light up. “It’s going to be fun, that’s for sure! When I was aboard the International Space Station, I looked through the dome, and saw the moon. Sometimes I said to myself: I don’t know if we can…Can we go for a walk? Come a little closer?”, He laughed.

“We hear a lot about the Apollo generation; everyone a little older than me, 52, remembers where they were when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. There, the Artemis generation is coming, people who will remember the day a CSA astronaut left for the moon. ‘ said Mr. Saint Jacques.

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