Tuesday, May 28, 2024

NASA forced to postpone the launch of its lunar mission

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Jillian Castillo
Jillian Castillo
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LONGWELL, QC – A deep disappointment Monday morning at Canadian Space Agency headquarters in Longueuil, as NASA announced the cancellation of the launch of its new Artemis lunar rocket.

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 complex, what we’re doing is very dangerous. Everyone should really be reassured that everything is fine, and unfortunately, something was wrong.”

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, it doesn’t forgive. We don’t like taking risks.”

So David Saint-Jacques was disappointed, of course, but surprised at all. “We are used to it. There are delays in launching all the time and the important thing is that on the day we say ‘Go! We are going, sure everything is going well.

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 has to be in the right place in the sky, among other things. On Friday, if we can get to the core of the problem and that it will be sure to settle the problem 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 with no crew on board and that’s kind of the work of the engineers, trying to see if there was a problem to make sure we were ready the day we started It sure works fine.

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 first flight for NASA’s 21st Century Lunar Exploration Program, called Artemis, had been expected 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 goal, in the end, 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, to which Canada participates by contributing With a robotic arm. Before that, there will be missions to the lunar environment, “explained the Canadian astronaut.

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

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

When asked if he would like to be the lucky winner, his eyes light up. “It would be fun, that’s for sure! When I was aboard the International Space Station, I looked through the dome, and saw the moon. I said to myself sometimes: I don’t know if we could… 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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