For the second time in five days, NASA on Saturday halted a countdown in progress and postponed a planned attempt to launch the debut test flight of its giant, next-generation rocket, the first mission of the agency's moon-to-Mars Artemis program, Trend reports citing Reuters.
The latest attempt to launch the 32-story-tall Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and its Orion capsule was scrubbed after repeated failed attempts by technicians to fix a leak of super-cooled liquid hydrogen propellant being pumped into the vehicle's core-stage fuel tanks.
Pre-flight operations were officially called off for the day by Artemis I launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson about three hours before the targeted two-hour launch window was due to open at 2:17 p.m. EDT (1817 GMT).
There was no immediate word on a time frame for retrying to launch the mission, dubbed Artemis I. But NASA could schedule another attempt for Monday or Tuesday.
NASA chief Bill Nelson said mission managers would convene later on Saturday to discuss a future launch opportunity, adding there was a chance that the rocket might be rolled back to its assembly building for further trouble-shooting and repairs.
If that occurs, the next launch attempt would be postponed until October, he said during a NASA webcast interview.
In a separate statement announcing the scrub, NASA said: "Engineers are continuing to gather additional data."